China Outbound Tourism Research Institute helps retailers prepare for changes in Chinese shopping behavior


Travelers from China have overtaken Russians as the group of customers generating the most tax-free shopping sales. In 2010, they spent 1.3 billion euro in shops which provide Global Blue VAT refund services, a staggering increase of 95% compared to 2009. Germany is among the top 5 destinations for tax-free shopping sales together with France, UK, Italy, and Singapore.

The rapid pace of the development of China’s outbound tourism is not only connected to growing numbers of travelers leaving Mainland China. The travel and shopping patterns are also changing. Younger and more sophisticated visitors are no longer just following the flag of the tour guide to visit the most famous destinations and to spend their money in those shops which provide the highest kickbacks for the guide. Cities off the beaten track and specialized shops offering original – or healthy – items now also stand a chance to attract the affluent new Chinese tourists.

In the coming weeks, COTRI provides insights for retailers on how to leverage this exciting development of new opportunities in a number of Global Blue Business Breakfasts held by Global Blue Germany in different German cities including Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of COTRI, said: “You don’t need any more to have an Eiffel Tower or an Opera House next to the harbor to get attention from Chinese outbound travelers, and you can sell other goods than just famous brands. But you have to prepare and communicate with Chinese customers in the right way.”

More than 65 million border-crossing from Mainland China are expected for 2011 – and shopping will remain a major item on the agenda both for package and self-organized tourists.

COTRI is the worldwide leading independent research institute for analysis, consulting, and quality assessment related to the Chinese Outbound Tourism market.