In a recently published study the researchers revealed that mainland tourists who shop for luxury goods are motivated by 'materialism, a desire for social status or to conform with others', and these differences in their nature influence not only what they buy, but where they buy.
Shopping is a major driver of tourism worldwide, and cities such as Las Vegas, Dubai, Paris, London and Singapore have “all become destinations associated with shopping tourism”, the researchers note.
Shopping tourism benefits not just the national economy of such destinations, but also local communities, because while an upscale downtown shopping mall sells luxury international branded goods, rural farms and traditional craftspeople sell their homemade products directly to foreign tourists. Shopping, according to the researchers, provides huge economic benefits. For instance, in Hong Kong, one of the most renowned shopping destinations worldwide, more than 60% of the HK$359 billion income from tourism is spent on shopping.
In a more general sense, mainland Chinese tourists spend a particularly large proportion of their budget on shopping – over 70%, compared with only 20% for North American tourists.
Recently, however, Hong Kong’s reputation as a shopping heaven has been threatened by an apparent downturn in retail sales, suggesting that it may be losing its allure. Hence, the researchers aimed to examine mainland Chinese tourists’ motivations and satisfaction and how different outlets for shopping “drive tourists’ intentions to shop for luxuries” in Hong Kong.
The researchers conducted an online survey of mainland Chinese who had bought luxury brands during a trip to Hong Kong within the last year, attracting 314 usable responses. The respondents were mainly young adults with a high level of education (more than 80% had a postgraduate degree) and what the researchers describe as “good purchasing power”. They had visited Hong Kong more than three times on average, and for about three and a half days per trip.
Apart from demographic information, the survey assessed the respondents’ level of agreement with 17 statements about their motivations for shopping in Hong Kong. After analysing the data, the items were grouped into three factors reflecting “materialism”, “desire for social status” and “conformity with others”.
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