Luxury shopping is a high priority for China’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), especially when they travel overseas. But while bringing home a prized brand-name bag used to be the main highlight of going on vacation, there’s a new status-driving trend emerging among wealthy Chinese travelers, according to a report discussed at ILTM Asia in Shanghai by Agility Research and Strategy, a Shanghai-based firm focused on luxury and the affluent consumer. Now, health and wellness play a larger role in the lifestyles of wealthy Chinese consumers, and this is likely influencing how they travel.
Agility’s report, titled “Affluent Insights Millionaire Report,” looked at individuals with more than US$1 million in investable assets and an annual household income of more than US$50,000 a year (though more than 40 percent of those surveyed had an income of more than US$140,000 a year.) In the list of top five purchasing categories for these individuals, ‘travel experiences’ came up just behind cosmetics and designer clothing.
Amrita Banta, the managing director at Agility, who shared highlights at the conference from interviews conducted with over 300 millionaires in China, said that in the past two years, she has seen a growing trend among HNWI travelers in China to be more adventurous as the majority of them are consumers who prioritize active lifestyles. Travel itineraries now include activities like diving classes, yoga retreats, sporting events, spas, and road trips.
“They may be flying down to Singapore to watch Argentina versus Singapore play soccer,” Banta told Jing Daily. “They might be flying down to watch a basketball match in the Philippines, or going down to Amsterdam to be part of the marathon.”
“The whole idea about travel when you go deep down in the research is that they’re going to places they’ve never been, buying products they’ve never had, and eating food they haven’t tried. It’s a lot of local immersion.”
More than 85 percent of respondents of a survey of 111 Chinese millionaires said staying physically fit was an important part of their life, while more than 72 percent said they follow a specific diet. This health and wellness lifestyle is also apparent in their general interests and hobbies. While in the survey, 69 percent of respondents listed shopping as a hobby, more than 40 percent said they played golf or tennis, while 37 percent said they liked to cook at home.
In response to this trend, luxury hotels and travel concierges are beginning to offer more personalized services to fulfill Chinese travelers’ increasingly diverse requests, including the pursuit of soft adventure or sports as they seek out destinations not for their famous shopping streets, but for what types of experiences they can gain.
“There’s this whole exploratory kind of nature that’s beginning to come up,” said Banta, “which is going away from their original comfort zone and adding a lot of variety and activities in their life.”
Catering to these travelers means being creative and providing them with a story to share on social media because no longer is it just about the fancy watch, but about the unique way in which they explore their destination. “That’s definitely something that’s become quite a way of life and a signal that they’ve ‘arrived.’”