Chinese tourists spend heavily when they come to the United States. In New York, for example, the average transaction value on a Chinese card tops $650.

Kamran Zaki, president, North America, Adyen

Kamran Zaki, president, North America, Adyen

The Alibaba shopping holiday on November 11 smashed records this year, with the company selling $1 billion worth of merchandise in just 85 seconds and more than $30 billion in 24 hours. The previous records were set on last year’s Singles Day, essentially China’s version of Black Friday, when sales hit $25.3 billion.

But November isn’t the only bonanza shopping month for Chinese shoppers. Plenty are opening their wallets year round, and they are looking for luxury goods far outside of China.

Last year, Chinese tourists came to the US more often than any other country outside Asia, according to a Nielsen survey. And when they came, they shopped — a lot. The average Chinese shopper spent $4,462 in the US, the survey said, more than in any other country or region.

The Chinese shopper in America

American companies have likely been overlooking Chinese shoppers for years. According to Adyen data via 451 Research, only 29% of retailers focus on offering localized payment methods to international shoppers. But this is a mistake, considering the various groups’ potential impact. Adyen data shows that the share of Chinese card traffic in the US has tripled in just the past two years.

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Millennial luxury shoppers make up about two-thirds of Chinese tourists and are well educated, mobile-centric, and generally prefer Western brands to Asian ones.

And Chinese shoppers are consistently seeking high-end goods. Our figures show the average spend on Chinese cards is more than double the average for purchases made with American and other cards. In states like New York, the average transaction value on a Chinese card tops $650.

Chinese card spending

Millennials: have cash, will travel

Travelers of all ages visit the US from China. But one demographic group turns out to be the country’s power shoppers, and they’re of particular interest to high-end brands: Chinese Millennials. Millennial luxury shoppers make up about two-thirds of Chinese tourists and are well educated, mobile-centric, and generally prefer Western brands to Asian ones. They also tend to research brands before they leave home, which means it’s critical to reach them online and via social platforms like WeChat and Weibo.

The next golden opportunity  

To be sure, some US retailers have already jumped on the bandwagon, offering promotions around October’s Golden Week and Singles Day in November. The next big Chinese shopping holiday to prep for: Chinese New Year, which this year falls on February 5. Special occasions or not, Chinese tourists are expected to spend $255 billion abroad by 2025. Make sure your business is ready.
Based in the Netherlands, Adyen provides a payment platform for online and offline transactions.

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