Chinese Tourists “Able—And Willing—To Pay More”
As Jing Daily recently pointed out, China has undoubtedly become a globetrotting nation, with the country’s outbound tourists expected to take over 100 million trips by 2020 and jet-setting to every corner of the world. With this in mind, global luxury brands have been working overtime to think of ways to appeal to and take advantage of an influx of mainland Chinese tourist-shoppers, a group that has, according to KPMG’s recent “The Global Reach of China Luxury” report, shown it is “able — and willing — to pay more.” Confirming this trend, KPMG reported that the number of mainland Chinese consumers polled who traveled overseas to make purchases climbed to 71 percent in 2012, a “significant change” from 53 percent in 2008. Of those travelers, 72 percent said they bought more high-end products, such as handbags, cosmetics and watches, on trips abroad.
Thus, as KPMG’S China’s Asia-Pacific Chairman of Consumer Markets, Nick Debnam, said in the report, global luxury brands need to take another look at their business strategies in order to take full advantage. “It is no longer just about doing business in China,” Debnam noted, “brands need to therefore align their branding and marketing strategies both in China, and for those rising number of traveling Chinese consumers.”
A prime example of realigning marketing campaigns to attract — rather than alienate — Chinese tourists was launched this month by the Macy’s-owned American department store Bloomingdale’s. Running from January 7 – February 18, the retailer recently rolled out a collection of limited edition merchandise, special events and pop-up shops to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year. As chairman and CEO Michael Gould put it, “Bloomingdale’s is excited to not only recognize and celebrate this special holiday, but the entire Chinese culture. It is our hope that Chinese consumers and tourists, along with all of our loyal shoppers, will enjoy the festive holiday and culture rooted in tradition.”
As a nod to the Chinese tradition of gifting red envelopes (红包), Bloomingdale’s is offering shoppers at the 59th Street, North Michigan Avenue, San Francisco Centre, and South Coast Plaza locations their own red envelopes from February 7-10. Select envelopes will include prizes such as bMoney cards in lucky denominations of $8, $88, or $888, a special limited-edition Chinese New Year shopping tote, and a limited-edition reusable “Little Red Bag” inspired by the iconic Bloomingdale’s brown bag. Bloomingdale’s will also create pop-up shops racked with pieces from brands like 7 For All Mankind, Altru, Asian Loft, Baccarat, Christofle, L’Objet, Maximilian, Natori, Riedel, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Tateossian.
Compared to more large-scale examples of Year of the Snake visual merchandising like Bulgari’s flagship serpents or lavish high-street window displays, the timing of the Bloomingdale’s pop-up campaign pairs well with the increasingly private demeanor of the Chinese traveling shopper, rather than the tour group participant. Though Chinese New Year is traditionally a time to be with family, more individual tourists who do venture outside of the country during the holidays are looking for an efficient and focused shopping experience. Moreover, Bloomingdale’s year-long efforts to improve customer service will likely be appreciated, encouraging Chinese shoppers to return even after the holidays.