SINGAPORE is now the top global destination for Chinese tourists to shop for luxury watches and jewellery, beating even Switzerland, known as a traditional stronghold for upscale timepieces.
The Chinese spent close to S$265 million (US$212 million) on these luxury items in Singapore between April 2011 and February 2012, with each traveller spending an average of S$8,757, as compared to S$7,221 in Italy and S$3,127 in Germany. These figures were revealed by Global Blue, a financial services company that provides tax refunds to tourists.
The Chinese have also surpassed Russians and Japanese to become the top spenders, chalking up more than S$3 billion in tax-free shopping transactions globally.
“Singapore’s strong position towards Chinese global shoppers is mainly due to its great choice and variety of luxury brands – particularly in jewellery and watches – as well as its geographical proximity. Chinese shoppers also have better chances to get discounts here than in Europe for example,” said Manelik Sfez, vice president, partner & corporate marketing, Global Blue.
Chinese travellers are increasingly sophisticated, focusing on price, style and design and product quality when making luxury purchases, said Sfez. “(They) have a high spending power and relatively high savings, which have resulted in continued growth of their average spend overseas over the last years,” he added.
To get an even bigger piece of the Chinese pie, Singapore retailers should focus on pre-journey marketing campaigns to reach their targeted shoppers and create preference even before they begin their trips, Sfez advised.