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(formerly Counter Intelligence Retail)

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Quality and authenticity remain key for Chinese airport shoppers

Chinese travellers’ shopping needs have changed in the space of a year. On the one hand their desire for higher-quality products has increased, but equally they are less inclined to buy non-regular brands.  

The latest wave of CiR’s ongoing Chinese Tracker survey – complied every two months – indicates that when it comes to non-regular brands, 38% of Chinese travellers bought them this year compared to 40% in 2017 (based in 1,020 respondents).

Instead, PRC travellers were more likely to buy tried and trusted labels, with 60% sticking to the brands they knew rather than risking new ones. This was up on the 55% who bought their regular brands in 2017.

The change ties in with CiR’s previously-released data showing that the top purchase driver this year of  ‘good quality’ has also become more important. The share of respondents citing this has crept up significantly from 38% in 2017 to almost 42% in 2018, while authenticity is a requirement mentioned by almost 36.7%. 

“The Chinese look to be consolidating their knowledge, and familiarity, of brands they are acquainted with,” comments Garry Stasiulevicuis, Founder and President of CiR. “Their desire for better quality, coupled with the reassurance of an authentic product, means that they are more likely to choose brands they already trust.”

But he adds: “This does not rule out newcomer labels. Our study shows that the share of Chinese travellers willing to buy a brand for the first time has held steady at 11%, while more than one in four (27%) will buy an occasional brand.”

Purchase drivers for non-regular brands

The success of these non-regular brands depends on some key factors, according to the Chinese Tracker survey. In 2018, three drivers stand out: a good price (cited by 40%), product that offers something new/different (37%), and the packaging (36%).

Crucially a good price has decreased in importance from 2017 (44% of respondents) whereas nice packaging has become a greater concern, rising from just 28% in 2017.

“Based on these findings, a good-looking, original product will still capture the attention of Chinese shoppers even if they are not familiar with the brand. Travel retailers who are widening their assortments and introducing new brands should be aware of this when they do their sourcing,” notes Stasiulevicuis.

Interactive staff

Staff advice also plays a role in convincing Chinese travellers to buy non-regular brands at 25% (versus 22% in 2017). But in order to interact, store staff need to have certain attributes. Among the most important for the Chinese are: ability to speak Chinese (51%), in-depth product knowledge (43%), being available to assist (42%), and knowledge of promotional activities (40%).

Around two-thirds (64%) of Chinese shoppers interact with staff, and 35% make the approach to a store assistant. However, the Chinese Tracker survey shows that two in three Chinese travellers want to be approached by a member of staff, not the other way around.

The latest Chinese Shopper Tracker 2018 from CiR reveals many more highlights about the changing shopping habits of this vital market. In-depth data can be found on:

- Arrivals duty free shopping behaviour and conversion rates

- Pre-trip research and the importance of pre-order

- Usage of digital and social media platforms

- Alternative brand purchasing, and awareness of particular brands.

Commencing in 2019, CiR will launch a comprehensive range of nationality trackers to complement the Chinese Tracker and provide the necessary insight into the key nationalities in travel retail.

For further information: Please contact Steve Hillam, Research Director or click here