Taking the pulse of affluent Chinese travellers

Meryam Schneider, senior vice president of affluent research specialist, Altiant, grants a sneak peek into its new China-focused report, published in collaboration with ILTM Asia Pacific for the event’s edition this June

Your new report, Decoding the Luxury Traveller Mindset: Spotlight China, looks at a hot topic: the travel behaviours of wealthy Chinese. There have been so many other studies on Chinese travel intentions, so what makes this latest study stand out from the rest?
Although the topics of revenge travel and resuming international travel has been portrayed publicly, this report has much more granularity and dives right into the push and pull factors.

Quantifying the findings creates genuine, actionable insights for professionals in the luxury travel industry. For instance, we learn that there is a strong appetite for living their bucket list and that there is clear push and pull factors such as health and safety that remains the most influential factor in holiday bookings, but also the retail/food and drink offering (49 per cent) and sustainability credentials (46 per cent). The report also contains a lot of verbatim illustrating the data points.

Finally, we have been running this survey for the second year in a row, so we have been able to highlight some critical evolution in the luxury traveller’s mindset.

Furthermore, the survey has been exclusively submitted to validated affluent and HNWIs to bring relevant content and help luxury industry professionals understand their target more precisely. More than two-thirds of the interviewees (69 per cent) were the equivalent of USD millionaires (US$1m in investable assets), while almost half (49 per cent) had a household income of US$300,000 or more.

What are some of the most fascinating finds from the survey?
We noticed a surprising turn since the previous wave. In 2021, 48 per cent of wealthy Chinese preferred spending on luxury goods rather than luxury experiences versus only 37 per cent in 2023. Also, 73 per cent told us they are willing to spend more and travel in style on more extravagant and unique trips.

Are there earlier industry projections on Chinese travel intentions that have now shown to be mere speculations?
We have heard a lot about privacy/seclusion becoming the guiding choice for the years to come, or that regional tourism will take over international trips. The study has demonstrated that just 39 per cent now prefer this, and international trips are already back on the agenda, with 60 per cent of the interviewees planning to go abroad.

Based on your research, what new business avenues or opportunities are there for travel and tourism organisations and destinations looking to grow their share of HNW Chinese travellers?
Family and multi-generational trips are growing, with almost half of the wealthy Chinese planning for one in the next 12 months. Mental wellness-related travel is a priority for 41 per cent, increasing by five percentage points. It is important to give the right attention to these trends in the imminent future, (and for) travel agents to gain more market share by offering more complex trips to this hard-to-reach population.

Editor’s note: Findings from Decoding the Luxury Travellers Mindset; Spotlight China will be presented during ILTM Asia Pacific 2023’s Opening Forum at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore on June 19

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