Asia in Focus

Expert highlights the 'power of the travelling Chinese consumer'

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags China

Expert highlights the 'power of the travelling Chinese consumer'
As the Chinese consumer becomes the number-one luxury spender in the world, our expert reckons US and European prestige brand managers are suddenly paying closer attention to their overseas spending behaviour.

This is the second edition of ‘Asia in Focus’: a series that hones in on which segments offering the most opportunities for the industry right now; how best to enter these markets; and specific consumer trends and behavioural pattern breakdowns, from our experts on the ground, on the region, now.

This month is focusing on the power of the travelling Chinese consumer where our expert, Renee Hartmann advises cosmetics retailers to evaluate their store locations in order to better assess which are most attractive to these travelers, and adjust merchandising, payment procedures and staffing to accommodate the growing numbers.

As after all, she says, China's tourists outspent the perennial global leaders from Germany in 2012, dropping a total of US$102 billion on overseas trips compared to just US$84 billion by their German counterparts.

Adding fuel to this buzz is the tantalizing fact that only 5 per cent of Chinese citizens currently have passports. The intense growth that luxury retailers have seen in recent years may prove to be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg​,” the regional expert adds.

China consumer preferences & trends beyond their borders

As beauty brands make a further effort to appeal to these consumers abroad, Hartmann says it is important to keep in mind their specific preferences and trends such as the demand for skin care products over colour cosmetics, and the importance of whitening, anti-ageing and moisturising properties.

"Most consumers under the age of 35 are very concerned with keeping their skin white, whilst women in their 20s are concerned about wrinkles, and both men and women in China of all ages are very interested in moisturizing products​," she explains by way of example.

Products going down well with the travelling consumer at the moment Hartmann says are Elizabeth Arden's '8 hour cream', Peter Thomas Roth's Cucumber Gel Masque, and L'Occitane's Hand Cream.

The luxury advisor also highlights a move towards a more organic and natural trend due to the widespread attention on China’s never-ending problems with product safety.

"Customers are very interested in natural products, and the smartest brands are going to great lengths to communicate these attributes​," she concludes.

Hartmann has been living in China since 2000 where she has been observing and reporting on the emerging Chinese consumer. In recent years she co-founded 'China Luxury Advisors', an agency that advises on their spending patterns and consumer culture.

If you would like to see our expert look into specific topics on their next trip to the region, please contact us via the editor button below for consideration.

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