Chinese Consumers Boost Mobile Spending in Australia

April Davis By April Davis | 23 Jan 2019

Chinese holidaymakers are spending big in Australia, with 68 percent of tourists reportedly using their mobiles to make purchases during their trip, both online and in-store.

In a survey, 2018 Trends of Chinese Mobile Payment in Outbound Tourism,’ Nielsen and Alipay discovered that shopping continues to be the most popular expenditure when Chinese tourists travel down under, accounting for 24.6 percent of total spend. Accommodation, dining and tourist attractions also ranked highly.

In 2018, 32 percent of transactions made by Chinese tourists were made on a mobile device, with the convenient payment method now being more popular than cash for visitors to Australia. The most popular categories were cosmetics, souvenirs, arts and craft and food, with Chinese tourists increasing their travel budget by 15 percent year-on-year. This has reportedly led to an increase in foot traffic in bricks-and-mortar stores, as well as a higher number of mobile purchases. Fifty-six percent of merchants surveyed said that in the last year their sales have improved, with spending from Chinese tourists contributing to their boost in traffic and revenue.

Looking towards the global market, Millennials are no longer driving mobile payments in China, with 68 percent of outbound Chinese tourists who were born between 1970 and 1979 now making mobile purchases during their travels abroad. It’s also becoming increasingly popular for travellers visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Europe, the US, and Australia to request to make a mobile payment when shopping in-store. In fact, 60 percent of Chinese tourists visiting one or more of these destinations made a mobile purchase in the last 12-months.

Chinese consumers have become valuable shoppers for Australian merchants, both when travelling and shopping online from home. Through platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall and partnerships with JD.Com’s e-commerce business, brands like Lorna Jane and Pharmacy 4 Less have expanded their Australian operations into China in recent months.

Lorna Jane, for instance, announced in September last year that it would be turning to the Asian market to capitalise on its success on Alibaba’s Tmall platform in China. The brand had already established a successful digital footprint in the region but is in the process of expanding its physical presence to correlate with rising consumer and investor interest in the region.

“The interest has been very strong and has exceeded our expectations,” Bill Clarkson, the company’s CEO said at the time.

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