Attract China Blog

What Do Chinese Shoppers Really Want?

October 18, 2017

Eighty-nine billion dollars in ten days. That’s what 770 million Chinese shoppers, or half the population, spent traveling last week. This year’s Golden Week, the annual national vacation, combined with Mid-Autumn Festival, helped put Chinese on the road.

One report said as many as 16%, or 110 million, Chinese traveled not only to destinations in Asia Pacific, like this year’s big winner, Thailand. They also went thousands of miles further to cities like St. Petersburg, Paris and Los Angeles. However, how many stores, hotels, restaurants and attractions knew how to greet Chinese tourists the right way?  We don’t mean slippers in the hotel room or signs in Chinese (though those surely help).

What Chinese Shoppers really want is an easy way to pay for their hotel, meals and shopping. Many Chinese still rely on cash overseas because merchants haven’t adopted the two largest mobile payment platforms in the world, WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Our research found that the vast majority of Chinese shoppers would prefer to use their smart phones to pay for purchases, both large and small:

Attract China WeChat Survey

Source: Attract China WeChat Survey Research

In China, these two platforms processed 19% of all retail sales, or $2.9 trillion in 2016. And yet US merchants are slow to adopt WeChat Pay and Alipay, even when Chinese are the brightest star in the tourism firmament.

Setting up WeChat Pay and Alipay when working with a partner like Citcon is fast, often measured in few days, using a portable POS terminal or app, and a month with a client’s existing POS.

The transaction limit on WeChat Pay is $10,000 and $30,000 for Alipay. This amount is more than enough to buy a dozen Diane von Furstenberg dresses at Brookfield Place in NYC. By comparison, spending $150 or more on a credit card would get a Chinese shopper on the government watch list.

Chinese shoppers are the most powerful spending force in tourism ever. If you want to begin to roll out the red carpet, you need mobile payments for consumers who have made the transition into a cashless economy. Finally, to let them know mobile payments are available, you need a comprehensive, integrated Chinese marketing program that reaches Chinese shoppers while they are still planning for their trips.