This Is How Wealthy Chinese Female Travelers Think of Travel

Skift Take

For Chinese women travelers, travel is now a powerful way to express their individuality. Sure, you might spot them shopping at Prada, but there’s so much more to their adventures.

Women made 80% of travel decisions and accounted for 6 out of 10 Chinese tourists last year.

Chinese women are embracing a new era of travel characterized by greater boldness and exploration, and the shift is prominent among luxury travelers, shared a recent report by Finn Partners.

Sharing insights with Skift, Jenny Lo, managing partner, China at Finn Partners, said the study aimed to understand how broader social changes influence Chinese women’s perceptions of travel, particularly in terms of motivations, habits and influences.

“The traditional image of affluent Chinese female travelers shopping at Louis Vuitton in Paris or dining with their multi-generational families has evolved,” the research indicated.

The New Meaning of Luxury and Travel to Enrich, Not Escape

The concept of luxury has transformed from acquiring material possessions to achieving self-contentment. Travel now fits into this new luxury narrative as a rewarding experience that offers personal fulfillment, “me time,” joy, and recognition of achievement.

Approximately two-thirds of respondents said they view luxury as total privacy and “me time,” while more than half consider it as experiences that bring joy. Also, almost half of them perceive luxury as a recognition of their hard work.

Previously seen as an escape from daily routines or family obligations, female travelers in China preceive travel as an opportunity for personal enrichment, learning new skills, and broadening horizons. To them, travel is a means of self-discovery and personal fulfillment.

An overwhelming 98% of women agree that travel is a way to treat themselves, and over 99% believe it is essential for expanding their horizons. Joshua Wang, associate vice president of research and insights at Finn Partners, said Covid-19 acted as a catalyst, magnifying these desires as Chinese women reconsidered their priorities, focusing on self-care, mental well-being, and meaningful experiences over material possessions.

Rise of Solo Travel

One of the most significant trends highlighted in the report is the rise in solo travel among Chinese women. Driven by a desire for independence and self-empowerment, the growing financial independence of Chinese women allows them to make autonomous travel decisions, the report said.

Lo emphasized that safety and security are still crucial when choosing popular destinations perceived as safe. However, the research suggests that Chinese women travelers are increasingly confident in navigating solo trips, thanks to improved travel resources and support from travel advisors who provide insider knowledge and assurance.

“Previously, the assurance of safety and security came from peer testimony or group travel, but today, the abundance of information available to solo travelers, combined with a strong desire for independence and personal enrichment, encourages women to step out of their comfort zones while still prioritizing their safety,” Wang told Skift.

Demographic and psychographic trends also contribute to the rise in solo travel. An increasing number of young urbanites in China are choosing to remain single, placing greater importance on individuality and independence, and opting not to marry or have children. “Once stigmatized as ‘leftover women,’ single women are now seen as a source of inspiration. This shift in mindset is particularly evident in their approach to travel, further explaining the rise in solo travel,” Lo said.

An earlier Skift article had also highlighted how women are leading the charge in shaping China’s outbound travel.

Social Media’s Role in Travel

Social media continues to play a significant role in travel decisions. While the survey mainly focused on travel motivators and changes in mindset, speaking to Skift Wang said that social media is now “less of a tool for showing off and more of an act of self-expression.”

“This doesn’t necessarily change their posting behavior on social media, but we expect their content to change, likely shifting to more authoritative stories that speak more openly about their own perspectives, experiences, and opinions,” he said.

Platforms like Xiaohongshu and Douyin are popular among Chinese women for documenting their solo travels. Social media influencers play a crucial role in driving travel decisions, especially among younger travelers.

Surprising Findings

Among the surprising findings, Wang and Lo highlighted that a significant proportion of married women and mothers expressed less intention to travel with their partners or children in the future, indicating a departure from the traditional concept of multi-generational travel.

Additionally, the rapid growth of solo travel was unexpected. “Last year, in our study titled ‘Outbound Rebound: The Return of Chinese Travelers,’ less than one-third expressed a preference for solo travel (although the study also included male travelers), with a focus on millennials. This year, that number has surged to 72%” Lo said.

The Finn researchers also found it surprising that despite discussions about slow travel women travelers also prefer fast travel, incorporating as many sights, activities, or experiences as possible into their trips . “The inclination towards fast travel resonates with the strong eagerness and urge to travel,” Wang noted.

“The most intriguing discovery lies in the collective narrative that emerges from the data. It reveals that today’s Chinese luxury female traveler is quite complex and nuanced in her motivations and desires, adeptly balancing traditional travel motivations centered around family with newer, self-empowered motivations,” Lo concluded.

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