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Nielsen's Mainland Tourist Study: Hong Kong continues to pull at heartstrings of mainland tourists

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Tue, 01/15/2019 - 06:17

Over 90% of Mainland visitors said they will return to Hong Kong again within the next 12 months, with a 4% growth in planned spending for the next trip.

HONG KONG -- Connection between Hong Kong and other Mainland cities has been strengthened since the recent completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. More Mainland visitors are already travelling to Hong Kong via coach or train compared to 2017.

The number of tourists visited Hong Kong in November 2018 surpassed the same period in 2017 with a 26% leap (Source: Immigration Department - Visitor Arrival Statistics November 2018). With the on-going GBA initiatives and the convenience brought by the new gateway access to Hong Kong, the influx momentum is expected to continue. Not only the high-end market of finance, trade, logistics and professional services in Hong Kong will benefit, the new market potentials for tourism related industries, especially retail, will also be underpinned.

Increased travel spending across all sectors

According to the latest Nielsen Annual Mainland Tourist Study, each traveller spent HKD 21,000 per trip in Hong Kong indicating 3% growth vs. 2017. Shopping continues to lead as the highest spend sector (45%) in their trip; accommodation, dining and entertainment each contribute evenly on their overall expenses. Having said so, spending across all four sectors recorded positive uplifts. 

Experiential retail: staying new by constant re-invention

Though spending power is seen increasing year on year, travel appetite to Hong Kong is facing a tough challenge - products are perceived to be similar between Hong Kong and other Mainland cities. It is inevitable for Hong Kong to steer focus beyond product offering to service. Experience helps to establish emotional tide and is always timeless. "Transforming each trip from a shopping mission to an inspiring travel experience can drive repeat visitation and such experience can best be offered through the brick and mortar channel in Hong Kong," said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau.  

"Unlike other destinations with abundant cultural attractions, developing an inspired travel experience in Hong Kong would require a seamless, cross-industries (shopping, accommodation, food and entertainment) collaboration. This helps to turn our cultural similarities with Mainland visitors to an advantage for making the experiential retail a true success," Lee suggested.

Omnichannel landscape: seizing the e-commerce opportunity by transforming brick-and-mortar relationship under the tech-led era

According to the study, almost 30% of Mainland visitors make online purchases in overseas e-commerce platform. Cross-border online shopping has started showing its impact on Mainland visitors' shopping behaviour during their trips to Hong Kong. More are claiming spending in the brick and mortars shop during their trip would be lowered as a product is available online. "An integrated omnichannel strategy can help Hong Kong retailers to address the change of traveller purchase behaviour as they convert part of their purchase to online," said Lee.


Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.