The coronavirus pandemic has re-oriented Chinese consumers’ taste in travel, with international trips ranging from arduous to almost impossible. Demand for domestic travel, however, is rising fast.
According to Chinese consultancy Daxue Consulting, a number of key trends have emerged in the sector that brands need to know.
- International travel may be off the agenda, but duty-free shopping is still a big tourist driver as rules have been relaxed on the southern island province of Hainan, visited by 65 million tourists in 2020. Here, consumers can buy a range of tax-free goods, including cosmetics and electronics. Sales doubled in 2020. Shopping is also at the heart of another hugely popular tourist activity – night markets and dining, with 93% of tourists saying they want to visit night markets in every location they visit.
- Family travel is on the rise, probably as a result of the pandemic, which separated some families and forced others to spend more time together – both of which underlined the importance of family. And, again underlining the more fundamental things in life, tourists are keener than ever on natural scenic destinations when they travel – with road trips rather than group tours favoured since the pandemic, and greater concern about safety and health.
- Social media platforms are rapidly replacing the traditional travel agency when people decide on destinations. Travellers are prepared to view long and detailed reviews by others, which they consider more reliable.
Xiaohongshu (Red), is the out-and-out go-to social media platform for travel, with its high-quality posts from KOLs (key opinion leaders) and KOCs (key opinion consumers). It captures 65% of shared travel content; Douyin is second (54%), followed by Weibo (37%), Mafengwo (35%), Trip.com (30%) and Fliggy (22%).