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Leading Authority on the Chinese Luxury Consumer} Hurun Report publishes ‘The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2015’ in Association with ILTM Asia

June 3, 2015 Trade Events No Comments Print Print Email Email

Ten Key Findings

1. Fast increase in overseas travel.Chinese high net worth individuals, defined as individuals with wealth of CNY 10 million (equivalent to US$1.6m), travelled overseas four times last year, totaling 33 days, of which leisure travel made up 20 days, up 10% or two days, and business travel made up 13 days. Total number of outbound trips in 2014 increased 17.8% year on year, to 116 million, according to the China Tourism Academy

2. Luxury travel buyers influence grew. More than two thirds of China’s super travellers, defined as individuals who spent US$30,000 or more on travel last year,arranged their leisure travel with a luxury travel agency. http://www.uhotelsresorts.com/Customized service and well-planned itineraries were the key considerations for a good travel agency.

  • Mainland China Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2015 Top 12: (alphabetical order):8Continents Travel, Ctrip, CTS, CITS, CYTS, Diadema, HH Travel, Mytour Travel, Magic Travel, Sinbad Travel, Wild Travel and Zanadu.
  • American Express was the outstanding performer across Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Hong Kong Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2015 Top 5 were: American Express, Cathay Pacific Holidays, Swire Travel, Wincastle Travel and Westminster Travel. Macau Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2015 Top 5 were: American Express, Hong Thai Travel Service, JIT Macau, Macau CTS and Macau CITS. Taiwan Outbound Luxury Travel Agencies 2015 Top 5were: Asuka International Travel Services, American Express, IT IS, Lion Travel and Royal Jetway Express.  Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher said: “For luxury hotels around the world, Mainland Chinese luxury travellers now spend as much as those from HK, Macao and Taiwan. This is why Hurun Report has, for the first time, added in the luxury travel agencies from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.”

3. Travel destinations with Chinese characteristics.

Antarcticawas the destination of choice last year for Chinese super travelers, especially during the Chinese New Year holiday. 49% went for the landscape. The Maldives have grown in popularity as a destination these last two years, surging to third place in the preferred international luxury travel destinations. Australia retained its top position with France a firm second. Dubai has also seen a strong growth these past few years, coming in fourth. Among European destinations, UK and Italy showed significant increases in popularity. Domestically, Sanya and Tibet led the way.

  • Specific comparison between US, Japan, France, Australia and the UK. The US was the country respondents had been to most frequently, with 5 trips in their lifetime, and plans to go a further twice in the next three years. It also scored highest for business and visiting friends and family. Japan scored highest for shopping and culinary experiences. France and the UK scored well for shopping and business. Australia scored highest for leisure. Interestingly, for these Chinese respondents, the best culinary experiences were to be had in Japan, with the UK beating France into third place.

4. Most memorable trip last year and Chinese New Year. The most memorable trip of 2014 was a 13-day trip with 6 friends, one day and one friend in the group more than last year. For Chinese New Year, it was with family, and a smaller group of 4 people. In both cases, half travelled business class, compared with only a third last year.

5. When to travel. The top choice for travel time was the summer holidays, followed by the October national holiday and Spring Festival. However, 56% of respondents chose the off peak season, an 11% increase over the previous year. Chinese New Year was the peak season for family travel. 93% were travelling with family members or friends.

Hotels. More than half of China’s super travellers made their own hotel bookings. The Peninsula topped the list of preferred luxury hotel brands for the first time, followed by the Mandarin Oriental. Shangri-La, which topped the ranking for the past decade, dropped down to the fifth this year. However, for reward cards, Hilton and Marriott led the way for 29% and 26% respectively. Hoogewerf said, “China’s luxury travellers may prefer the idea of luxury hotel brands like the Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, but their most-used reward cards are still with the Hilton and Marriott.”

6. Air travel.Air China, the leading Chinese member of theStar Alliance, was the run-away winner of the best frequent flyer program, with 66% of respondents being members. There has been a surge in flying business class in the past year. Singapore Airlines was the winner of the best business and first class.

7. Looking forward 3 years. There is a clear trend towards experiential travel, especially as China’s high net worth individuals are doing more business travel than ever before. Physical and spiritual relaxation lies at the heart of their leisure travel needs, demonstrated in the rise of medical tourism. Europe and America can expect to lead the way for Chinese luxury travellers, coming in first and second 47% and 45% respectively.

8. Impact of smartphones. WeChatovertook email as the most used function on smartphones at 58%, up 19%. WeChat was also the most widely accessed source for travel news, at 42%, followed by travel apps. 94% of respondents have installed travel APPs on their smartphones, led by Ctrip (49%) and Qunar (15%). For taking photos, smartphones have overtaken professional cameras, although half of the respondents claimed to have a camera costing more than USD$3,000, with Canon leading the way. The subject matter of their photos has shifted to people (47%), rather than rivers and oceans (42%), animals (41%), and natural scenery like hills and mountains (31%).

9. Travel retail. The Chinese luxury consumer is now the absolute Number One consumer of luxury in the world, with 35% of the total consumption of luxury, according to a recent report by tax refund brand Global Blue. Russians came in a distant second place with 13%. Europe was the destination of choice for luxury shopping, with France leading the pack for 22% of respondents. For gifting, Apple overtookHermes to become the preferred luxury brand to gift, although spending on gifting declined 5% year on year, on the back of the government’s anti-corruption campaign.

(2 June 2015, Shanghai) — Hurun Report andILTM Asia today released The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2015, a 40-page report on the travel trends of the Chinese luxury high net worth individual. The report features the travel trends of China’s super travellers, defined as individuals who spent US$30,000 or more on travel in the past year. For the first time, the report highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of five popular countries: US, Japan, France, Australia and the UK. The report also features the best outbound luxury travel agencies.

Hurun Report conducted two bespoke surveys for this report.

The first was a survey of 291 super luxury travellers, defined as individuals who spent US$30,000 or more on travel in the past 12 months, making this the largest and most significant survey of the Chinese outbound luxury travel sector. Hurun Research Institute carried out the survey between March and May in association with three of China’s leading luxury travel agencies:Diadema, Magic Travel andHH Travel. Magic Travel and HH Travel and are the bespoke luxury travel brands of listed companies UTour andCtrip respectively. The survey asked respondents for their travel trends, and three specific case studies: Their most memorable trip last year; Their Chinese New Year trip this year; and their leisure travel plans for the next three years.

55% of respondents were from the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with the rest from 23 provinces and including HK, Taiwan and Macao for the first time. Respondents were 40 years on average, married and with a 13-year-old child. They have a net worth of US$13 million and last year spent an average of US$58,000 on travel with the family. They were very international, having worked, studied or lived overseas for two years, travelled to 27 countries and taken 2.5 cruises. One third had travelled to Antarctica last year. Hoogewerf said, “This survey of super travellers, who have spent US$30,000 or more last year on travel in the past year, is significant, because they are ahead of the curve and give an indication of what we can expect to come from the so-called normal luxury traveler.”

The results of the best outbound luxury travel agencies were based on a separate bespoke survey of 72 luxury hoteliers, carried out between April and May in association with ILTM and GHC, a leading luxury travel PR agency. Respondents replied to an unprompted question: “Which are the three most important luxury travel buyers from China that you currently do business with?” For the first time, the survey asked for the luxury travel buyers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher said: “The recent popularity of Antarctica for the Chinese luxury traveler shows how much experiential travel is now on the cards.”

Alison Gilmore, ILTM’s Senior Exhibition Director commented: ““ILTM Asia invites discerning buyers representing high net worth individuals from the key outbound markets across Asia to meet with the best of the world’s luxury travel suppliers.  We are delighted once again to be working with Hurun Report in 2015 to highlight the expanding luxury travel trends of those from Mainland China as well as from HK, Macau and Taiwan.”

Lynn Grebstad, Partner of GHC Asia, said: “Hurun Report continues to be an invaluable source of research into the habits and preferences of China’s affluent travellers. And with things changing so fast as this vast outbound travel market continues to evolve and mature, this annual update is an essential tool in helping us to advise and service our luxury travel and hospitality clients looking to this market for business”

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