Nielsen report highlights vital importance of Mainland China visitors to Hong Kong’s retail business

nielsenHONG KONG. Visitors from Mainland China remain vital to Hong Kong’s retail business, according to a new report from analyst Nielsen.

It said 42.8 million mainland Chinese travel to Hong Kong every year, representing 75% of its total tourists and generating 35% of retail sales.

The ‘2016 Mainland Tourists Syndicated Report’ found that in the past 12 months, 17 million mainland tourists have spent nights in Hong Kong, with 80% of them taking two trips per year on average and spending HK$20,000 (US$2578.18).

Nielsen said that while the figures show Hong Kong businesses “still have a big chance to win if they find the right way to attract mainland travellers”, cross-border e-commerce opportunities offer them easier and cheaper access.

“Those overnight visitors who are short in number but stronger in buying power compared with the day-trippers is a key group to watch,” said Nielsen Hong Kong Managing Director Angel Young.

“The incidence of buying foreign goods via a Chinese cross-border e-commerce platform was higher than overseas platforms and physical visits.”

Nielsen said business owners in Hong Kong might need to adapt to the transformation in advertising and feedback mechanisms to create better customer experiences for digital-savvy mainland travellers.

The report stated: “They should focus more on the pre-travel period as more and more mainlanders are planning independent tours to Hong Kong, getting 95% of the necessary information from online travel agencies, and 49% from social media. Many can’t wait to post pictures on social websites when they are still shopping, to share both positive and negative comments and discount information.

“They also have to improve in-store customer service, as the research showed that 80% of the mainlanders’ purchases in Hong Kong are for self-use, instead of for friends.”

The Nielsen report recommends targeting two specific groups: so-called ‘Super Mainlanders’ and ‘Culture Seekers’.

Super Mainlanders have a “huge shopping thirst”, the report stated. They make up only 23% of all mainland tourists but account for 54% of total mainlander sales, spending CNY46,902 (US$6810.22) each per visit.

Culture Seekers travel to Hong Kong for concerts, local food, sightseeing and exploring places they have seen on television shows. Although not shopping-oriented, they still spend 10% more than other mainland tourists.

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