As Chinese tourists head across the globe for Golden Week this week, luxury retailers are worried that an ailing stock market and devalued yuan will lead to muted growth compared to holiday seasons of the past. But according to newly released figures, long-term growth prospects remain strong for Chinese travelers, who are expected to double in number over the next decade.
Some destinations may be in for a Chinese spending slump when it comes to luxury shopping over the holiday. According to recent figures released by Global Blue, UK luxury retailers are especially expected to feel the pain of China’s current economic woes during Golden Week. The retail tourism firm reported that the devaluation of the yuan in June led to a 2 percent year-on-year decline in Chinese tourist spending in August for the UK, down from 8 percent growth in spending between January and July. According to an official statement, “Global Blue is anticipating the Golden Week rush will be significantly weaker this year, and the decline could continue throughout the fourth quarter as Chinese are left disinclined to book trips abroad.”
But retailers shouldn’t fret too much about long-term prospects, as a recent study published by HSBC found that outbound Chinese traveler numbers are expected to hit 242 million by 2024—a number more than double last year’s amount, which was estimated by HSBC to be 116 million. In addition, a recent report by the Fung Business Intelligence Center and China Luxury Advisors found that outbound Chinese traveler spending will hit $422 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $200 billion this year.
Even as retailers fret about their sales prospects for this Golden Week, not everyone is expected to lose out. A weak euro still makes Europe a popular destination despite the devalued Chinese currency, and Global Blue found that Chinese shopper numbers in Europe rose by 74 percent in the first half of this year. Online travel agency Ctrip still expects outbound tour bookings to double for the period, and has reported that Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Bangkok are the top three holiday destinations for Chinese tourists. While luxury retailers in some destinations may be noticing the slowdown much more than others, those that keep their eye on the prize when it comes to Chinese travelers are more likely to have a fruitful decade to come.