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Nielsen: Over Sixty Percent Mainland Travelers Are Planning To Buy Luxury Online In The Next Twelve Months

Ninety Percent of Chinese Travelers who Bought Luxury Goods Abroad
Have Planned Their Purchases
Digital is The First Touch Point in the Preparation Stage

HONG KONG, October 6, 2014 – Chinese consumers represent a significant part of the worldwide luxury market, with a trend to become more demanding and sophisticated shoppers. According to latest Nielsen survey, 60% of Chinese travelers have visited social media platforms and reviewed users’ recommendations on independent online platforms as the main source for their purchase plan.

The Nielsen Mainland Chinese Luxury Shopper survey polled 1,005 Internet respondents1 from four segmented geographic regions to understand the luxury shopping general habits and awareness. Conducted between August 14 and 22, 2014, the study provides insight on shopping and spending behaviors across the most commonly shopped categories and key destinations.

“Among those mainland luxury shoppers with high engagement on online platforms, there is an opportunity for marketers to create targeted brand awareness programs by advertising on blogs and forums to maximize the reach to their potential consumers,” said Eva Leung, Managing Director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau. “Apart from this, a better understanding on Chinese travelers’ luxury perceptions, purchase plan preparation and key source of information besides digital is a critical asset for any organizations nowadays targeting Asian markets.”

Digital is The First Touch Point in Purchase Preparation

According to the survey, 90% of Chinese travelers have planned their luxury goods purchase prior to travel, and nearly four-out-of-ten (38%) know exactly which products they wanted to buy. Luxury brands owned websites (50%) and social media pages (49%) are their first source of information. On the other hand, the report shows high awareness on luxury e-commerce. 77% of respondents knew those websites selling luxury items, with 45% of respondents have bought luxury items though online and 48% are still considering it.

75% of respondents said convenience and time savings were key drivers for buying online. 59% of mainland travelers said they enjoyed the ease of browsing-through different collections through Internet. For those who already bought online or who are ready to try, 90% of them said they will buy luxury goods online in the next 12 months.

Understand The Travel Patterns

According to Nielsen’s findings, Chinese travelers have travelled 3 times overseas over the last 12 months. Respondents from South China are likely to travel more (nearly 4 times) than those from other regions in the Mainland. In general, Hong Kong and South Korea are the top 2 destinations, followed by Macau and Japan. Respondents from North China preferred travelling to South Korea and Japan, where respondents from the South were particularly more present in Hong Kong and Macau. Travelers from Chengdu went more to Thailand over the last 12 months.

Concerning the purposes of travel, shopping (97%) is the key activity when asking the mainland travelers. Sightseeing/ visiting (84%) and entertainment such as theme park, theatre and musical (72%) are also important factors to attract them traveling overseas.

Take a Close Look on The Luxury Experiences

Accessories (71%), high-end cosmetics and skin care (70%) are the two most popular categories. 63% of them have also bought watches and jewelry, while 62% of mainland travelers bought fashion clothes, and 52% on wine or fine liquor.

In terms of the perception of luxury goods, more than half (56%) of respondents would link to “quality”, 46% would connect the goods with “fine design”. Four-out-of-ten of mainland travelers highlight the “established heritage”. Subsequently, when it comes to the motivations to buy luxury goods, “quality” is the key driver among mainland travelers (45%). Also, 42% of respondents said luxury goods purchase can provide a sense of taste and feel different. They will also buy luxury goods just to reward themselves (42%).

Concerning the channels for purchasing luxury goods, 26% of the respondents would choose brand stores, followed by airport duty-free stores (24%).

About Nielsen

Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.


1. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration is still growing, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population. In addition, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

Content provided by The Nielsen Company
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