What do visitors look for shopping? (Shopping Tourism)

Tourists Shopping


Considering volant economic development, rising household income, and the emergence of middle-class consumers in mainland China, a growing number of Chinese consumers are traveling to other countries and regions for tourism and shopping.

Research has seen that Chinese customers often express intentions to engage in luxury shopping, driven by factors such as brand consciousness, social comparison, and innovative fashion. Fact that the drift of Chinese outbound tourism aimed at luxury shopping continues to expand, little is known about Chinese luxury shoppers’ behavior when abroad.

This study diligences to interrogate Chinese luxury shoppers’ preferences in shopping destinations, relevant attributes of preferred luxury shopping destinations, and potential underlying dimensions among identified attributes.

China’s rapid economic development, ballooning household income, and the emergence of middle-class consumers have led more Chinese to visit various countries and regions for tourism. As claimed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, PRC (2019), 149.7 million Chinese tourists traveled overseas in 2018, a 14.7% increase over 2017. Further, with the growing popularity of outbound tourism, Chinese traveler’s spending power in overseas destinations is notably disproportionate to their income in many cases.

Chinese travelers spend most of their money on shopping; in some destinations, such spending can constitute as much as 70.4% of tourists’ total trip expenditure. Chinese outbound tourism and luxury shopping continue to expand, and Chinese luxury shoppers have gradually become a target segment for many overseas tourism destinations.

Even so, little is known about these shoppers’ behavior when abroad. For example, in terms of luxury shopping destinations, which attributes do Chinese tourists consider?

Among all luxury shopping destinations, why do Chinese tourists prefer some over others? Answers to these questions should provide valuable insight for marketers of tourism and luxury retailing companies seeking to target the Chinese market.

This work diligence to investigate Chinese luxury shoppers’ preferences for shopping destinations, relevant attributes of their preferred destinations, and potential underlying dimensions of identified attributes. More importantly, this research aims to generate a measurement scale to promote further investigation. Our findings offer important implications for marketers in luxury shopping destinations and related sectors. 


  • Shopping Tourism & luxury Shopping destinations – attributes and satisfaction
  • The scale measuring the attributes of Chinese tourists’ preferred destinations for luxury shopping

Shopping Tourism & Luxury shopping:

Shopping is an important element of tourism. Shopping is also a great destination attraction and can effectively increase tourists’ destination spending in addition to extending their stays.

E.g Dubai’s huge shopping malls have become urban attractions that positively shape the city’s destination image and spur its tourism industry. Shopping tourists purchase a range of products from destinations to fulfill expressive motives and instrumental motives.

So, other travelers do not shop in tourism destinations simply for the sake of shopping; rather, this behavior helps them understand local culture and engage in diverse tourism activities. Shopping has to become an essential activity for Chinese tourists traveling abroad.

Current years have seen an increase in luxury shopping, with the luxury market becoming a large and lucrative segment of the tourism and retail industries. The intermission “luxury,” as in “luxury shopping,” may have different meanings for different people.

To some, the term may convey superior quality, uniqueness, exclusivity, or aesthetics; for others, “luxury” denotes a sense of prestige often associated with social status. Fundamentally, “luxury” is the precise opposite of ordinary or utilitarian shopping.

The concept of “luxury” continues to evolve; what is deemed luxurious today may become ordinary tomorrow. Perceptions of luxury can also vary culturally. 

Shopping destinations – attributes and satisfaction

Relating to shopping venues, the World Tourism Cities reported that Chinese outbound tourists prefer to shop at large department stores/shopping centers, duty-free shops, and shopping streets.

At most of these shopping venues, attributes such as a convenient location, pleasant atmosphere with friendly staff, clean and safe environment, and engaging surroundings with basic amenities are important. 

The scale measuring the attributes of Chinese tourists’ preferred destinations for luxury shopping.

Thirty mainland Chinese who had traveled overseas and engaged in luxury consumption within the past 12 months participated in interviews.

Among them, 12 respondents were recruited in the destination, where luxury shopping occurred during travel; 18 were recruited in mainland China and had previously engaged in luxury shopping experiences anywhere in the world.

An expert panel was subsequently organized to further examine the representation and appropriateness of initial measurement items. The expert panel comprised six tourism scholars who had engaged in luxury shopping while traveling.

After merging similar items, deleting poorly represented items, and proposing new items, 28 preferred destination attributes were generated. These items were included in the questionnaire in addition to demographic and screening questions.

The questionnaire was then pilot tested with 53 mainland Chinese respondents; based on their feedback, adjustments were made to improve the clarity, sequence, and readability of the questionnaire.

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