Beijing—Jan 21, 2019—About 69% of Chinese tourists sampled have used mobile payment while traveling overseas, 4 percent up compared to last year, and more than 3 out of every 10 payments of Chinese tourists are made by mobile payment during outbound travel, according to the latest whitepaper jointly issued by Nielsen, a global leading information and measurement company, and Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform. According to the whitepaper, the use of mobile payment for overseas consumption is no longer a privilege for millennials. Mobile payment has already benefited Chinese tourists of various ages. For instance, 68% of Chinese tourists who were born between 1970 and 1979 used mobile payment while traveling abroad.
In addition to bringing a better
experience for Chinese tourists to travel abroad, in fact, Chinese mobile
payment has further stimulated the digital transformation of local offline
entities in operations and marketing, bringing to merchants new vitality and
opportunities. For example, over 50% of the merchants surveyed said that after
adopting Alipay, the flow of Chinese tourists has increased, and the turnover
of stores has also increased accordingly.
In order to understand the development trend of China’s mobile payment in
overseas markets, Nielsen and Alipay have released a whitepaper named “2018
trends of Chinese mobile payment in outbound tourism” focusing on the
application of mobile payment when Chinese tourists travel overseas and the
attitudes of overseas merchants, especially in Singapore, Malaysia and
Thailand, which provides insight of the opportunities and challenges of China’s
mobile payment brand’s overseas development.
Chinese tourists pay more attention to
According to the whitepaper, outbound
travel becomes more popular among Chinese tourists due to easier visa process.
More than half of the first-tier city residents have traveled to Hong Kong,
Macao, Japan or South Korea in the past year, and short-distance travel has
become their common leisure lifestyle. In addition, the average yearly spending
and the number of destinations on overseas tour have also increased
significantly for second-tier city residents, making them a new force in
In 2018, Chinese tourists extend their
destinations to further places, and personalized tourism has become a new
trend. Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and Southeast Asia are still the most
popular destinations for outbound travel. The fast-growing outbound travel
market and personalized demand prompted more Chinese tourists to go deep into
more adventurous destinations such as Central Asia and Africa to experience
cultures and cuisines which are different from frequently visited travel areas.
As a typical example of pioneering tourists, 18% of surveyed Chinese tourists
born between 1990-1999 traveled to Central and Western Asia or Africa, while 5%
traveled to Nordic countries.
While paying attention to travel
destinations, Nielsen also observed the consumption habits of Chinese tourists
traveling abroad. In 2018, the top three sectors of Chinese outbound travel
consumption are still shopping (25%), accommodation (18%) and dining (16%). The
importance of shopping quality has become one of the top three factors
influencing Chinese tourists’ purchasing decisions. At the same time, more
Chinese tourists choose to shop in roadside and specialty stores, suggesting
that shopping experiences have become a new trend when Chinese travel abroad.
The use of mobile payment is no longer
just a trend for younger consumers
With the expansion of footsteps of Chinese
tourists, mobile payment, as a convenient and safe paying method, has already
occupied a position in the overseas travel payment market, and has shown a
trend of further development. In 2018, 69% of Chinese outbound tourists used
mobile payment at their destinations. Last year, the usage rate of mobile
payment increased by 4 percentage points, becoming closer to bank card payment
At the same time, compared to last year,
the proportion of mobile payment in the total number of Chinese tourists
payment transactions has increased. Judging from payments of Chinese tourists’
latest outbound travel consumption, more than 3 out of every 10 payments were
made by smartphone, which has exceeded cash payment.
As for the use of mobile payment for
different age groups, in 2017, the proportion of mobile payment for outbound
travel for the 1970s and 1960s generation was significantly lower than that of
the people born in the 1990s and 1980s. In 2018, mobile payment has already
benefited Chinese outbound tourists of various ages. The mobile payment usage
rate of older Chinese tourists surveyed has reached 68%, which is close to the
frequency of young people; For post 1970s and 1960s, there is also a strong
willingness to use mobile devices to pay. 88% of them will take the initiative
to ask whether stores support mobile payment, which increased 14 points
compared with last year.
The local merchants accelerate adoption to
China’s mobile payment providing new impetus for local businesses growth
93% of Chinese tourists stated that they may have more willingness to consume
or shop in the future when more overseas merchants support China’s mobile
payment. As merchants at destinations have increased adoption rate for mobile
payment, the barriers to using mobile payment abroad have been further reduced
for Chinese tourists. In addition, the overseas merchants accessing China’s
mobile payment are increasingly diversified, especially in the local
supermarkets, duty-free shops, and quality shopping scenes. The prototype of
Chinese tourists’ travelling without cash has emerged. These scene changes have
jointly affected the willingness of Chinese tourists to consume.
In addition to providing more convenience
for Chinese customers, China’s mobile payment has also brought new vitality to
local merchants. According to the whitepaper, 40% of the local merchants
clearly stated that after adopting China’s mobile payment, the overall
passenger flow of the store rose up.
Local merchants have observed that mobile
payment is one of the most common paying methods for Chinese customers who have
strong willingness of using it, unlike tourist from other countries that using
mobile payment as just a supplement to cash and credit card. For example, in
the case of a merchant surveyed, 90% of Chinese customers who are important
revenue sources for stores, will ask for mobile payment.
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, as
popular destinations for Chinese tourists, 58% of the small and medium-sized
local merchants in scenic spots have already supported mobile payment, of which
over 70% of the stores have already used China’s mobile payment. In 2016 or
earlier, only 12% of these stores had access to China’s mobile payment systems.
But in the past two years, the number of merchants adopting China’s mobile
payment has seen explosive growth.
With the trend of more and more Chinese
tourists using mobile payment and the deepening awareness of mobile payment of
overseas merchants, the willingness of overseas merchants to use China’s mobile
payment system is also on the rise. Taking the merchants surveyed in Singapore,
Malaysia and Thailand as an example, 60% of them who had access to China’s
mobile payment system were willing to recommend this paying method to their
peers; and another 55% said they would use China’s mobile payment in the near
“Both Chinese tourists’ mobile payment
usage rate and overseas merchants’ acceptance rate of China’s mobile payment
are showing a growing trend. However, along with the increasingly personalized
and sophisticated demand of Chinese tourists, improving the global coverage of
mobile payments is a long-term project,” said Andy Zhao, President of
This survey on China’s outbound tourism
consumption and payment is a Nielsen quantitative online research commissioned
by Alipay, an offline merchant visit and a pair of in-depth interviews.
The research results of “ Outbound
Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trend: 2018 Survey ” are based on
Nielsen’s overseas Chinese consumption in mainland China, and special research
on the current status and future trends of overseas tourism consumption and
mobile payment for small and medium-sized merchants in three national tourist
attractions in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Nielsen conducted extensive quantitative
online research and offline merchant surveys in the third quarter of 2018. The
premise of the online interview sample was that there had been an outbound
travel experience in the past 12 months, and there will be outbound travel
plans in the next 12 months. The precondition for the offline merchants to
visit of the survey is that there are various small and medium-sized merchants
such as shopping, catering and scenic spots for Chinese customers in the
popular tourist attractions of Singapore, Malaysia
The survey results do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entrusting party, and the survey data and results only represent the basic situation of surveyed people for certain time and serve the current survey purpose. Nielsen's consumer finance research team designed this research and refined its opinions to provide reference for the market, industry and readers. Nielsen does not bear any legal responsibility for the data and opinions in this report.
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a
global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete
and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach
marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around
the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to
best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data
and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing
new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising,
retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company,
Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the
world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.