Women lead leisure travel in China, but what’s driving their wanderlust?

    Ctrip reveals that women outspend men by 8 percent on travel in China. But which trends and age groups are leading?
    Ctrip reveals that women outspend men by 8 percent annually on travel in China. But which  trends and age groups are leading?  Image: Unsplash
      Published   in Travel

    What happened

    Ctrip's "2024 Women's Travel Consumer Insight Report" paints a compelling picture of women as the vanguard of consumption lifestyle upgrading in China. The report, which analyzes travel spending data from February 2023 to February 2024, reveals that women outspent men on annual travel expenditure (excluding business trips) by nearly 8 percent.

    This spike in spending is notably led by older millennial and Gen X women — born in the 1970s and 1980s — who constituted 62.2 percent of surveyed travelers. They're hailed as the "absolute main force" in the travel consumer market, surpassing younger cohorts in spending power.

    Meanwhile, a younger demographic, comprising women born in the 1990s and 00s, accounts for 28.5 percent and signals burgeoning consumption potential. Not to be overlooked, the older generation, those currently in their 50s and 60s, make up 9.3 percent and demonstrate a preference for "quality" consumption, matching the younger generations' travel expenditure with their more discerning tastes.

    The Jing Take

    The pivotal role of female consumers in shaping the travel landscape, as unveiled in recent reports by China’s leading online travel agencies Ctrip and Tongcheng Travel, underscores the economic clout of women in the sector, but also sheds light on their evolving preferences and behaviors.

    Ctrip’s data pertains to women outspending men by almost 8 percent annually. But Tongcheng Travel’s ‘2024 China Women's Travel Trend Report’ (based on their own data) offered a predictive glance into female consumers' travel predilections this year.

    Leveraging big data analytics, the report unveils that female travelers' destination choices extend beyond the allure of "internet-famous" cities to embrace the rich tapestry of historical and cultural capitals. Social media drives many millennials and Gen Z consumers' travel desires in today’s China, but content here has also evolved from covering the obvious to the more immersive, cultural heritage destinations.

    This eclectic mix of preferences highlights women's desire to explore both popular and niche destinations, with Anji, Fuyuan, Dandong, and Yibin earmarked as domestic hotspots for 2024.

    Brands, in hospitality but also luxury, beauty and fashion, should take note and inspiration from these destinations when considering pop-ups, activations and local marketing strategies.

    Tongcheng also indicated a slightly higher inclination among women to embark on overseas adventures, spotlighting Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Bali as the coveted outbound travel destinations for this year. Asian destinations continue to be a Chinese preference post pandemic, reinforcing recent data from Alipay.

    These findings not only underscore the transformative influence of female travelers on the industry's trajectory but also illuminate the diverse, dynamic and ever evolving nature of their travel aspirations.

    From leading the charge in consumption upgrades to pioneering trends in destination exploration, women are undeniably crafting a new narrative in travel, one that promises to reshape the market in new and enduring ways.

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