China’s Affluent Seek Out ‘Authentic Experiences’ Over Material Gain

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Travel a favorite experience for China’s affluent, according to a new report by MasterCard. (Shutterstock)

While China’s affluent certainly love to shop, a new report finds that they’re becoming increasingly focused on experiences through travel rather than material possessions as they look to expand their worldview.

A new survey by MasterCard of over 1,000 affluent individuals from countries across Asia including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and more found that the tendency “to seek and discover authentic experiences as opposed to purchasing and owning physical luxury items” is growing stronger among China’s rich. China’s affluent have a growing interest in “living a more valuable life” and have adopted the attitude that “wealth and success are more than just money,” according to the report.

When asked about their most-desired experiences, Chinese respondents listed activities in the travel, dining, and “other” categories before retail. Travel is the most popular experience for China’s wealthy, with 32 percent of respondents stating that it is their top passion. The report finds that they have a strong desire to learn about and experience the world, and see travel as an experience to “gain knowledge that can be used for networking and establishing connections.”

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This doesn’t mean that shopping is off the table when they travel, however. The survey found that 12 percent of Chinese respondents still listed retail as their most-desired category of experience, and China’s wealthy are the only group surveyed who listed shopping as their favorite activity at a higher rate than golf.

In order to appeal to these open-minded affluent consumers, the report found that curated content is more important than giving away complimentary goods. Curated content was listed as the most important “Reason to Believe”—or factor which convinces a consumer that a brand delivers the benefits it promises—for Chinese consumers, followed by privileged access and branded curation.

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Industry Sectors, Travel