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Summer spending by Chinese tourists in UK jumps 25% from 2017-18 as global spending doubles

Total number of transactions during Summer months by Chinese consumers grows 139% in the UK

Key stats (all data is record of spending through the Alipay app):

The UK and European market:

  • Globally, average total spend per user increased 43% to RMB 2,955 (approx. USD 432) from last year’s RMB 2,073 (approx. USD 303). The United Kingdom was among the top ten countries for highest average spend per Chinese consumer, with 4,357 RMB spent on average between July 1 and August 31 2018. This marks a 25% rise on the same time-frame last year and is almost double the average spend in Summer 2018 globally.
  • European countries accounted for more than half of the Top 10 countries in terms of average total spend per user.
  • The total number of transactions by Chinese consumers grew 139% from 2017 in the UK, making it the 15th most popular country globally for transactions.

Yana Geng, head of UK & Ireland Alipay commented: “Chinese nationals – particularly the younger generation – are increasingly embracing overseas travel. At a time when many high street stores are struggling with decreased footfall, this creates a huge opportunity for bricks and mortar merchants to appeal to a new customer base, which is growing in volume and spending potential. Merchants we work with have realised that by offering Chinese tourists the seamless shopping and mobile payment experience that they expect at home, they can market their services to this specific demographic and reap the rewards.”

Top 10 countries by average total spending per user
No.Country
1France
2South Korea
3Denmark
4Italy
5United Arab Emirates
6Greece
7Spain
8Australia
9United Kingdom
10Japan

A global view:

  • Globally, those born in the 1990s (aged 19 to 28) accounted for the largest portion of spending by Chinese tourists this Summer.
  • Average total spending per user was highest in France (RMB 11,386 or approx. USD 1,666), followed by South Korea and Denmark.
  • Across the globe, Alipay processed 6 timesas many in-store overseas transactions this summer, compared to the number of overseas transactions last summer.
  • Asia continued to lead the Top 10 countries and regions in terms of summertime overseas Alipay transactions, despite growth in other regions. Hong Kong topped the list, followed by Thailand and South Korea.
Top 10 countries and regions by Alipay transaction volume
2018 2017
Hong Kong1Thailand
Thailand2Hong Kong
South Korea3South Korea
Japan4Japan
Macau5Macau
Australia6Taiwan
Singapore7Australia
Taiwan8Singapore
Malaysia9United States
United States10Malaysia
  • The number of Alipay transactions in Russia increased by over 5000%, as Chinese travelers flocked to the host country for this year’s World Cup.
  • Countries in Northern and Western Europe, including Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, recorded double-digit growth in terms of Alipay transaction volume. 
Top 10 countries by Alipay transaction volume growth

(Summer 2018 vs. Summer 2017)

Russia50x
Luxembourg39x
Switzerland18x
Cambodia14x
Sweden12x
Norway11x
Greece7x
Canada7x
Malaysia5x
Portugal5x
  • Of the 80+ airports that support instant tax refunds via Alipay, airports in South Korea recorded the highest amount of tax refunded, followed by airports in Europe.

*The two-month summer holiday fell between July 1 and August 31 in both 2018 and 2017.