Chinese travelers completed nearly 150 million international trips in 2018, visiting 157 countries and regions, according to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The figure is expected to hit 166 million this year, an 11-percent increase.
In terms of spending, Chinese travelers are the biggest spenders in the world, shelling out 257.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 on shopping. That's more than double what American tourists spend, at a distant second place, according to data from the UN World Tourism Organization.
The report offers a few key points worth noting. First, traveling Chinese shoppers have the largest appetite for luxury bags, spending 940 U.S. dollars per capita. The rising consumption indicates the growth of the Chinese middle class.
Second, middle-aged Chinese travelers spend the least. Chinese travelers aged 35 to 50, the most prosperous group, were the lowest spenders compared to those aged 18 to 35, the biggest spending group. Those above 50 were the second biggest spenders.
The fact that middle-aged shoppers do not splurge might be explained by the situation that they have parents and children to care for, or they are at a critical stage in their career. Such individuals may pay more attention to non-consuming activities.
Third, people from Changchun, the capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, are the biggest spenders. This industrial area reported that each person spent on average 1,025 U.S. dollars on outbound travel.
Although they earn less money than those in bigger cities, they have more disposable income because of a lower cost of living.
Aside from purchasing goods, Chinese tourists are also spending more on cultural activities and sporting events than ever before.
In short, the consumption habits and concepts of traveling Chinese shoppers is changing dramatically as they travel abroad in increasing numbers.