What does the return of China's May Day holiday travel boom mean for UK and Europe? - PayXpress

What does the return of China’s May Day holiday travel boom mean for UK and Europe?

5 min read

chinese tourism

Chinese consumers, whose travel industry had suffered badly during the three years of the epidemic, have finally returned to full appreciation over the pre-epidemic period this Labour Day holiday.

Even though the holiday was two days shorter than the Chinese New Year, Chinese travel demand was far greater than the Chinese New Year, with the number of trips made in China during this holiday exceeding pre-epidemic levels.

According to the data from China’s transport and cultural tourism departments on May 3, during the 2023 May Day holiday, the country’s railways, highways, waterways, and civil aviation are expected to send a total of 270.19 million passengers, with a daily average of 54.038 million passengers.

This is a 162.9% rise compared with the same period in 2022. The total number of domestic tourism trips nationwide is 274 million, an increase of 70.83% year-on-year, recovering to 119.09% of the same period in 2019.

The domestic tourism revenue is 148.056 billion yuan, an increase of 128.90% year-on-year, recovering to 100.66% of the same period in 2019 on a comparable basis.

According to data from the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA), from April 29 to May 3, the CAA transported a total of 9.412 million passengers, with a daily average of 1.882 million passengers, an increase of 4.2% compared to 1.807 million passengers during the 2019 “May Day” holiday, and an increase of 508% compared to the 2022 “May Day” holiday of 310,000 passengers.

Outbound travel booking is up nearly 7 times year-on-year, and air and hotel booking in many places exceeded the same period in 2019.

With the relaxation of border policies, the “May Day” holiday has become the largest outbound travel holiday in the past three years. In terms of the overall order volume, the overall order volume for outbound travel on May 1 increased by nearly 700% compared to the same period last year, with outbound air tickets and hotel orders increasing by nearly 900% and 450%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022.

WeChat data, compared with the same period in 2019, outbound travel rebounded simultaneously, compared with the same period in 2019, the average daily offline consumption of WeChat payment abroad during this year’s “May Day” period increased by 88%, and the average daily offline consumption amount increased by 75%.

Alipay data shows that the per capita spending on outbound travel during the May Day holiday increased by 40% compared to the same period in 2019.

Chinese Consumer Statistics

The post-90s have become the leading spenders, accounting for 57% of people travelling abroad.

The first group of people to go abroad in 2023. Women account for 59.8%, and men for 40.8%. Of these, 57.9% are post-90s, and 23.7% are post-80s, of which 33.7% travel with friends, 29.3% travel as a couple and 14.7% travel as a family.

Tier 1 cities remain the main source of overseas travellers.

In 2023, the four Tier 1 cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, contracted more than 40% of the clientele. A week or more in the destination country is the mainstream choice, accounting for 57.4%.

In-depth trips of more than 15 days account for 24.6% of the total. Young consumers from Tier 1 cities were not “stingy” in their spending, with 48.5% spending more than 10,000 RMB on Habitat for Humanity.

Social media plays an important role in consumer decisions.

In recent years, quality, experiential, shareable posts or videos have become popular on major social media, with ‘word of mouth’ becoming the main reason for consumers’ travel spending decisions.

One popular keyword on the Internet this year: ‘Zibo BBQ’. The event first started as a popular topic when university students took a high-speed train to travel together. Then a video blogger shared a video of a barbecue in Zibo, which people well received. The city became an “internet famous city”. The number of hotel bookings in Zibo increased more than 10 times compared to the same period in 2019, placing the city among the top five most popular cities for hotel bookings in Shandong Province during May Day. worng

Consumers are more willing to search for “destinations + keywords” on Little Red Book, such as “Barcelona + beaches”, “UK + museums”, “France + food”, and other keywords to plan their trip.

Preferring an enjoyable holiday style and unlocking new ways to play.

Another trend is that consumers are more interested in enjoyment, such as diving, surfing, food search and other leisure activities. Younger consumers search for information on social media to experience local life, participate in local events and get a taste of the local culture.

They are also interested in discovering new ways of doing things and are keen to post their experiences on social media and share their stories with others.

China Travel Insights for UK and European merchants

Chinese consumers are demonstrating their unprecedented demand for travel as they travel on May Day 2023. Merchants in Europe should pay attention to Chinese consumers’ changing consumption patterns in these three years. 

For example, target the main consumer segment, the post-90s, launch new product packages that interest them and choose popular social media they use for marketing exposure to enhance the brand image in the consumers’ minds.

When implementing marketing campaigns, it is important to target the right group with the right location, topic and communication messages in the way that interests consumers most.  

Of course, in addition to keeping abreast of changing consumer trends, it is also important to know how they prefer to pay for their purchases.

Chinese consumers are most familiar with mobile payments, WeChat and Alipay, the dominant payment methods in China. By offering Chinese Payment methods, brands reduce friction and improve customer experiences, thus gaining a higher conversion rate.

We PayXpert, aim to provide UK and European merchants with a complete solution to win the Chinese market with WeChat Pay and Alipay+ Pay (including Alipay and other market-leading e-wallets in Asia) and our value-added marketing service on Chinese social media.