Global Blue releases the Globe Shopper Report: China Edition

 The report combines data from over 27 million Tax Free Shopping transactions with the opinions of 5,000 regular Chinese travellers* about their travel and spending plans for 2016.

Eysins, Switzerland, 20 April 2016: Ahead of China’s Labour Day public holiday, leading Tax Free Shopping provider Global Blue has released its Globe Shopper Report: China Edition. The report combines data from over 27 million Tax Free Shopping transactions with the opinions of 5,000 regular Chinese travellers* about their travel and spending plans for 2016.

• Chinese Tax Free Shopping has dropped into negative growth during March 2016, after growth of +58% during 2015

• China remains number one Globe Shopper market, accounting for a third of global Tax Free Shopping sales

• May and October set to be busiest months for travel amongst ‘regular Chinese travellers’ offering key opportunity for global retailers

• Retailers must focus on value and convenience to attract Chinese Globe Shoppers during 2016


Chinese Globe Shoppers remain a lucrative market, despite recent turbulence:

In March 2016, Chinese Tax Free Shopping spend dropped into negative growth, falling -24% year-on-year. This follows a period of slow growth for the first two months of the year (+11% in January and +5% in February) after an overall increase of +58% in Chinese Tax Free Shopping spend during 2015. This decline comes against the backdrop of a number of factors including:


Schengen biometric visa demands – ease of obtaining a visa was an important consideration for 22% of regular Chinese travellers when choosing a holiday destination

European terrorist attacks – a safe and secure destination was cited by 56% of respondents as an important destination factor

Tough comparison against 2015 – March 2015 saw stellar growth of +122% year-on-year, partly due to the Chinese New Year holiday falling later last year


The impact of the fluctuation of the yuan on Tax Free Shopping sales is likely to be minimal during Q1 2016 as the yuan weakened by just 3% against the euro during this period. However, the research indicated that almost half of those surveyed would reconsider their destination (46%) or reduce their shopping budget (47%) due to a weakened yuan, the rate most likely to prompt a change in behaviour was 0.130 CNY/EUR or lower, which is below the current rate of 0.137 CNY/EUR**.




Despite recent negative growth, Chinese shoppers remain the largest Tax Free Shopping market, accounting for a third of global sales. Shopping remains a hugely important part of the holiday experience for regular Chinese travellers, as 81% of those planning international travel in 2016 will shop during their trip***. The average shopping budget will be 3,544EUR (25,902CNY) per trip to Europe and 2,517EUR (18,398CNY) per trip to Asia.



May and October set to be busiest months for travel amongst regular Chinese travellers:

While there is low visibility around the performance of the luxury sector in 2016, research findings indicate outbound trips by regular Chinese travellers will be highest in May and October, representing crucial opportunities for international retailers.



May 2016 is expected to be the most popular month for travel to Europe, Japan and South Korea, while October 2016 will be popular for visits to other Asia-Pacific destinations, such as Australia and Singapore. These two key months coincide with major Chinese holidays: Labour Day (May 1-4) and Golden Week (October 1-7). 



South Korea and France most popular destinations for Asia and Europe:


Asia is set to be the primary recipient of Chinese visitors throughout the year, with almost three quarters (73%) of those planning a holiday in 2016 intending to travel within the region. South Korea is predicted to become the most visited destination with over a quarter (26%) of regular Chinese travellers planning a trip this year, while Japan follows with 23%.


When it comes to Chinese Tax Free Shopping spend within Asia, Japan was the region’s strongest performer during Q1, showing +50% growth. During this period Chinese shoppers accounted for 54% of APAC’s Tax Free Shopping sales.  The number of Chinese Tax Free Shopping transactions in Asia also increased +32% during Q1 2016, indicating that visitor numbers are up by proxy.


Despite the challenges associated with the new Schengen biometric visa requirements and recent terror attacks, 41% of regular Chinese travellers planning a holiday in 2016 intend to visit Europe. France (16%) is the most popular European destination followed by Germany (8%), Italy (6%) and the UK (6%).



Retailers must focus on value and convenience to attract Chinese Globe Shoppers:

When asked what makes a good shopping destination, 35% of regular Chinese travellers who shop abroad want a good selection of shopping malls or retail parks, whilst a third (33%) look for a destination with famous international brand stores. For 31%, the ability to buy products at a better price than they can in China is an important consideration.


The research also revealed the top five services that should be offered by retailers looking to attract Chinese Globe Shoppers:


1. Tax Free Shopping (65%)

2. Ability to pay with China Union Pay (55%)

3. Ability to pay in my home currency (46%)

4. Staff who speak my language (39%)

5. Wi-Fi in-store (26%)


Travel, shopping and fashion websites (43%) and recommendations from friends and family (43%) are the main research points for international shopping. For many, social media also plays a key role, either through the brand’s own site (38%) or via inspiration from friends’ pages (36%).


To find out more about Global Blue, visit


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Media contacts

Ella Collier or Duncan Skehens, Global Blue

E: T: +44 (0)7909 510901


Notes to editor

Research was conducted by Opinium Research to a sample of 5,005 Chinese travellers between 22 January 2016 and 1 February 2016.


Global Blue corporate data reporting includes Tax Free Shopping transactions from key Tax Free Shopping destination markets across EMEA and Asia, where more than 24 months of back data is available. Global Blue data points referenced within our corporate content may vary from other third party reports that publish our data, due to different parameters set by these third parties.


* Regular Chinese travellers are defined as survey respondents who have been on an international holiday in the last two years or plan to go on one in 2016

** The most common rate to prompt a change in shopping spend or destination was 0.130 CNY/EUR or lower (16%) – below the current rate of 0.137 CNY/EUR. All currency calculations based on Thomson Reuters FX rates. Calculated 15/04/2016.

*** Of those surveyed, 4743 (95%) plan to go on holiday in 2016


About Global Blue

Global Blue invented the concept of Tax Free Shopping more than 35 years ago and is now the worldwide industry leader, delivering Globe Shoppers the best shopping experience and creating value for retailers and partners through a range of products and services:

- Global Blue’s Tax Free Shopping solutions allow thousands of retailers, including most of the world’s best luxury, fast fashion and department store brands, to quickly and safely offer Globe Shoppers savings of up to 19% when shopping in nearly 300,000 stores around the world

- Global Blue’s Dynamic Currency Conversion solutions allow merchants in more than 60,000 outlets around the world to offer foreign customers a simple and cost efficient way to pay in their domestic currency

- Global Blue’s SHOP is a targeted print and online media platform, enabling merchants to speak directly to Globe Shoppers and attract more international visitors through their doors

Global Blue operates in 51 countries, employing over 1,800 people worldwide. In 2015, Global Blue powered more than 27 million Tax Free Shopping and 22 million Dynamic Currency Conversion transactions. These totalled €19 billion worth of sales.


In addition, through the publication of over nine million SHOP magazines and maps, and the creation of a wide range of online content, Global Blue helps its retail partners reach and engage with more than 30 million Globe Shoppers annually.


For more information visit