Many young first-time Chinese millennials start their travel “career” as a (semi )independent international traveller given their experience pf travelling with their proportionately more wealthy parents (than previous generations). These free and independent travellers that are no longer representative of the traditional Chinese organised tour groups. Millennials’ main reasons for travelling are leisure (91%), then business (43%), with almost one in five visiting friends or relatives.
According to CITM research, Millennials’ most favoured activities are sightseeing, dining, shopping and visiting resorts and beaches, in that order. However with a growing awareness of social responsibility and the environment in their homeland, taking part in eco-tours ranks fifth, with one in five rating this as their favourite activity. Fourteen percent of Millennials like visiting museums and cultural events the most. This growing group also challenges the general perception that most Chinese tourists like to travel in groups. Younger Millennials aged 18 to 25 favour more independent travel when going abroad for leisure, with 58% choosing this freer and independent option.
SPENDING & SHOPPING
A new report by MasterCard on the luxury shopping habits of Asia’s millennials finds that mainland Chinese Millennials plan to spend an average US$4,362 on luxury goods over the next year, a number that’s almost double second-place South Korea (US$2,638) and the Asian average (US$2,584). They also dominate third-place Hong Kong, which had an average of (US$2,584). Whilst Chinese Millennial consumers are much less “brand-loyal” than the older generation, their proportionately higher spending seems to stem from a sense of optimism about the future, as 60% of consumers in this age group believe their personal finances will improve, while only 33% of the older generation believes the same.
From a travel perspective, while Millennials still love shopping as part of their holiday experience, they’re also becoming increasingly interested in a culturally enriching, all encompassing travel experience.
WOMEN DRIVING TRAVEL DECISIONS
According to qunar.com (the world’s largest Chinese-language online travel search engine), the amount spent on travel by “well educated and well-paid” single Chinese women has risen 20% year-on-year, eclipsing the 9% rise in the same figure for men. 64% of Chinese outbound tourists in the first half year of 2015 were also women.
Women are responsible for 65% of decisions made about travel products and expenditure and are significantly more vocal regarding their holiday experiences; being responsible for 70% of comments on hotels left on the qunar.com website. In summary, Chinese Millennial Women now have more time and money for travelling, have strong purchasing power and are playing a key or dominant role in making the decisions about whether and where to travel.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL CONNECTION
Given Chinese millennials have now reached 97% smart phone ownership and spend an average of 90 minutes on social media every day, marketing, engaging and reaching this group requires a non-traditional approach. According to Michael Zakkour, “You’re not going to reach them by buying TV commercials or full-page ads in glossy magazines; you will meet them through product placement on TV or film, you will reach them on social media, if handled the right way”.
“Brands need to market themselves as pop culture rather than a product or brand, and that’s a big shift,”
Ellen Hou, McCann Worldgroup Shanghai’s group MD and Chief Strategy Officer.
For a generation that is so engagement focused, the right way to reach them seems tobe through integrated campaigns that blend the online and offline world and promote a 2-way discussion. This “omnichannel” approach, featuring coordinated and integrated digital channels provides Millennial consumers with choice; something that appeals to their individualistic personalities and life experience from growing up in a connected, wealthier, modern China.
From an accommodation perspective, Wifi ranks highly as a key hotel amenity, with 63%of the Millennial group, and 70% of the 18 to 20-year-olds, regarding it as important, just below the presence of an on-site restaurant (rated important by 66%) and above room service (49%).