Posted On 2016/02/20 By In Business, Chinese Perspective, Face, Luxury, Shopping With 685 Views

Chinese Tourists’ Lunar New Year Swag: Toilet Seats are Out, Condoms are In

When traveling abroad for the Lunar New Year, Chinese tourists in recent years have been known to stock their suitcases with advanced toilet seats, rice cookers and other goodies from overseas. This year, it seems they’ve eschewed their previous favorites for more germane items, including tissue paper, nail polish, electric toothbrushes and condoms.

Six million Chinese tourists traveled abroad during this year’s weeklong holiday, spending a record-setting 90 billion yuan overseas, according to an estimate by the China Tourism Academy and popular travel booking site Ctrip. Many of them traded high-tech toilets for toiletries, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

And despite the devaluation of the yuan, which has made some brand-name products more expensive, shopping enthusiasm isn’t on the wane. Chinese consumers continued to seek out quality items that, as one shopper purchasing South Korean beauty products told Xinhua, “you can buy with confidence.”

Here’s a look at the top shopping goodies for each country or region, according to Xinhua:


Okamoto condoms: Share prices are up nearly 78% year over year, in part due to Chinese visiting Japan and buying the super-thin condoms in bulk.

Sanitary napkins: Even after Chinese state media pushed back against a report that Chinese-made sanitary pads may contain potentially harmful fluorescent whitening agents, some women still prefer foreign brands.

Suwada nail clippers: One Chinese online reviewer raved of the clippers, saying “their workmanship is good, and they’re quite heavy in the hand. My nail clippings will never fly all over the place again!”


Ryo damage-repair shampoo for dyed hair:  It’s not just women who are into hair dye in China. (Ahem, party leaders.)

Bag of instant noodles: Some say the Korean types are thicker and chewier.

Huangyou Xing Ren: Honey-buttered almonds, which fit the almond rage taking over China.


Clinique products: Part of the Estee Lauder group, which expects double-digit growth in China in the future, according to the firm’s latest earnings.

GNC products: Sales of protein powder rose nearly 43% from 2014 to 2015 as more Chinese hit the gym.

Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein clothing: These brands may be in a slump in the U.S., but in China they’re more popular than ever.


Lamy fountain pens: With many knockoffs abounding in China, some folks want the real deal.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels stainless steel knife sets: Made in Germany, these knives probably pass the quality test for discerning Chinese shoppers.

Philips electric toothbrush: The Dutch company saw its 2015 profits increase 55%, with electric toothbrushes helping propel the business.

Learn more in our Global Ready China Seminars


Article: Wall Street Journal / Image: Steven Depolo

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Stefan (from Austria, Europe) has been living, studying and working in China since 2010. Stefan has worked on several research, publication and consulting projects focusing on the China Travel Market. He holds three Masters degrees and is an expert on China Outbound Tourism, Marketing and Social Media in China. Stefan works with BMG on the Global Ready China Seminars as well as the Global Ready China News and related projects. He also has teaching engagements in the areas of eMarketing and Tourism Strategy.

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