Chinese New Year: what’s new for 2018?

A reduction in travel by Chinese tourists to key destinations, unfavourable exchange rates and a comparison to a strong 2017: We take a look at the challenging retail climate this Chinese New Year.

A heavily anticipated calendar event for tourism boards and international retailers across the globe, this year the Chinese New Year holiday saw a reduction in Chinese tourist arrival numbers.

When comparing this Chinese New Year (16 February 2018) to last (28 January 2017), there has been a total decline of -7% in Chinese arrivals to key destinations.

As a result, the number of Tax Free Shopping transactions also fell to -6% globally, during the same period. Regionally, Europe was most impacted with a -10% drop, while Asia managed to sustain a +1% increase, thanks to strong performances from Japan and Singapore.

In the context of these declines, global sales-in-store experienced negative growth of -6% during the Chinese New Year period, in comparison to 2017.

What other factors contributed to these results?

Comparison to a strong 2017: Sales-in-store figures displayed exceptional growth during Chinese New Year 2017 (Chinese spend in Europe was up +36%), making for a tough comparison in 2018.

Unfavourable FX rates: A strong euro continues to create unfavourable exchange rates, discouraging some Chinese tourists from visiting and spending the region.

Attracting the Chinese Globe Shopper market

In light of these challenges, European merchants looking to attract the valuable Chinese Globe Shopper market must continue to build their offering, for example by offering digital payment solutions (such as Alipay and WeChat), VIP experiences, multi-lingual and digital customer support and value, for example via Tax Free Shopping.