Chinese duty free shoppers heavily influenced by staff

Chinese duty free shoppers heavily influenced by staff

28% of Chinese duty free buyers make their purchase decisions at home before leaving for the airport and staff interaction converts more shoppers into buyers in China than in any other region, according to a recent m1nd-set/APTRA study.

The recent study into the duty free purchasing behaviour of Chinese travellers from 2nd and 3rd tier cities in China, also reveals that 26% of those surveyed decide to buy once in the duty free shop at the airport after browsing. Sixteen percent say that they would rather buy once at their destination, before leaving for the airport on their return journey.

M1nd-set and APTRA can also reveal that Chinese duty free shoppers from tier 2 and 3 cities really like to compare prices (eight out of ten). One third of these shoppers compare prices with downtown shops; one quarter with other duty free shops; and another 22% compare with the prices on the Internet.

One of the highlights of the recent study goes some way to explaining the influence of staff interaction on purchase behaviour. Compared to other Asian nationalities, Chinese are significantly more likely to interact with the sales staff with more than 8 out of ten (84%) doing so on their most recent international trip.

SEE ALSO: Duty free sales grew 10% in 2016 in Asia Pacific


In about half of those cases, it was the shopper who approached the staff. That is 18% more compared to Chinese results in 2015.

“If we look at the impact of the interaction, we can see that 72% has been influenced in their choices, which is very high compared to other regions in the world, however, it is exactly the same as it was in 2015,” says m1nd-set.

The sections where buyers are slightly more likely to be influenced by their interaction with a sales person are firstly, toys (86%), followed by tobacco (77%) and souvenirs (75%). Electronics was the least with 48%, and even went down a lot (-30%) compared to two years ago.


Consequently, this translates into a high conversion rate of 59% – compared to the global average of 52% – and means that 28% of Chinese travellers actually make purchases.

However, m1nd-set also highlights that when comparing these figures with those from 2015, 51% of Chinese from tier 2 and 3 cities were visiting duty free stores and buying slightly more than they did in 2016 (31% vs 28%), leading to a conversion rate of 61% (vs 59% in 2016).

Amongst Chinese duty free store visitors from 2nd and 3rd tier cities, skincare is the most visited category (49%), followed very closely by make-up, perfumes and souvenirs. Clothing sits in fifth place with 35%.

SEE ALSO: Lotte Duty Free mixes K-Food and K-Drama to lure Chinese tourists

Interestingly, from the share of total duty free spend buyers allocated 21% for jewellery & watches, representing the biggest share of spending. This was followed in a second and third place by clothing with 16% and alcohol with 15% of the total spend. Tobacco, souvenirs, confectionery and toys represent the lowest shares.


Another important factor to consider is how Chinese travellers like to plan purchases with exactly two thirds of these international travellers planning their duty free visits in advance.

“Nevertheless, not all of them planned their purchase to the same extent,” says m1nd-set. “29% planned to buy something in the category without specific ideas; one quarter planned to buy something and had some idea of what type of product wanted; 11% planned to buy a specific brand and 7% planned to buy a specific product.”

It appears that the make-up, skincare, electronics and alcohol categories see the most pre-planned visits (all around 70%) and toys is by far the most impulse-driven category.

Additionally, four out of ten electronics and skincare buyers plan to buy something in these categories and have some idea of the type of product they want to purchase.

(Source: TR Business)