Chinese travellers are shaping the success of travel retail

Chinese queues are legendary, but how they have evolved over the years! From the long bread and tofu queues in the 1980s, to the equally long queues outside the stores of Louis Vuitton, Apple and Chanel - the new age Chinese traveller is constantly evolving. Envy takes on a whole new meaning when one sees the unparalleled purchasing power of Chinese travellers, and this is just the tip of the iceberg as 90% of the Chinese population is yet to acquire a passport1.

Figure 1

On the travel front, the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) predicts that international trips by the country's residents will increase to more than 400 million by 2030, with the number of Chinese passport holders doubling to 240 million by 20202. On the spending front, the Chinese make up around 10% of international travellers3, but are estimated to drive a third of global travel retail spending4. They are the world's primary buyers of luxury brands and a target for all major international brands, especially those sold in the travel retail and duty-free channel (see Figure 3).