Last year, China’s plentiful tourists spent almost 1.2 trillion yuan ($183 billion) on shopping sprees abroad, according to the Ministry of Commerce, a good deal of that money was spent on snatching up luxury goods.
China Daily reports that the Fortune Character Research Center estimates Chinese overseas consumption of luxury goods last year at $116.8 billion, accounting for 46% of luxury purchases globally. $91 billion was spent in the US, accounting for 78% of total overseas consumption by Chinese consumers.
“Convenient traveling conditions, the appreciation of the yuan and attractive foreign retail and tourist markets pushed Chinese to buy more foreign products in both physical stores and online shops,” assessed Jiang Yiyi, director of China Tourism Academy’s International Tourism Development Institute.
Overseas consumption by Chinese has reportedly grown by an average of 27.8% from 2005 – 2015, says the Ministry. It’s largely thanks to the high cost of luxury goods on the mainland, with China’s Chamber of International Commerce finding the price of 37 high-end consumer goods in the mainland to be 40-68% more expensive than in the US, France, and Germany.
Senior researcher Li Jian from the Chinese Academy of International Trade & Economic Cooperation calculates that if a third of current overseas spending was done in the country, domestic retail sales would rise 1%.
Fortune Center president Zhou Ting has suggested that the Chinese government lower taxes and show more support for domestic brands in order to enhance consumption of goods locally as 6 million tourists left the country to buy stuff during this year’s Spring Festival break.