Everything digital may usually be associated with the young, but it turns out that middle-aged Chinese travellers who headed abroad were the biggest users of mobiles to make purchases this Lunar New Year.

Plus, those tourists from lower-tier cities bought more than people from top-tier ones, such as Beijing and Shanghai, according to findings from Alipay.

The data was taken from over 40 markets where Alipay can be used. It revealed the middle-aged were “the main driving force in outbound tourism and overseas consumption”.

As the South China Morning Post pointed out, the stats underline China’s love of paying by mobile. According to research firm IPSOS, a total of around 890 million people in China used their mobile to make payments during 2018. The mobile payments sector is dominated by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay.

Another noteworthy trend garnered from Chinese New Year stats is the fact that 70% of young Hong Kongers broke with tradition this year and chose not to go home for the holiday.

British Airways’ Chinese New Year Solo Traveller Survey polled 1,002 Hong Kongers aged between 18 and 39, MarketingInteractive.com reported.

And the main reason they stayed away from home? The embarrassment and awkwardness of the whole family reunion ritual.

In particular, respondents cited not wanting to be asked why they hadn’t got a better job yet, why they weren’t married, and why there were still no children on the horizon. Another gripe was the sheer cost of having to hand over lai see money envelopes to members of the family.

Instead of heading home, a significant proportion of young Hong Kongers were ready to head overseas for solo adventures. While just 7% said they’d be happy to travel alone in mainland China, 21% said they’d be keen to take a solo trip abroad.

Men were the most enthusiastic about solo travelling – 20% said they were actually considering travelling alone, while just 13% of women said the same.

Meanwhile, catering and retail spending in China this Lunar New Year hit a new record of $148.96 billion. While that figure represented growth of 8.5% on the previous year, it was slowest growth rate in ten years, reflecting a general slowdown in China’s economic growth rate.

Sourced from South China Morning Post, Marketing Interactive; additional content by WARC staff