They’re also spending more than men: The new 2018 Chinese Travel Consumer Report, just released by Ctrip.com International and MasterCard, says that 58 percent of FITs (free independent travelers) from China are women, while 42 percent are men. This more than reverses the percentages from 2016, when men were the majority of FITs—54 percent to 46 percent for women. (For purposes of the report, FITs are defined as those who self-book itineraries and travel in groups of fewer than 10.)
Not only do women comprise more FITs than men, they are young. According to the same report, a growing number of these travelers belong to the post-’90s and post-’00s generations. they also spend 14 percent more on average than their male counterparts, which is a major demographic shift in the profile for Chinese FITs (a growing proportion of overall Chinese travelers).
This isn’t the first report to note that women (and younger women) account for a larger proportion of Chinese travel bookings. In early November, the Chinese Luxury Travel Report, which was released at the International Luxury Travel Market trade show in Shanghai, found that wealthy Chinese travelers are more often female. And the China International Travel Monitor, a report issued this past summer—it was prepared by Hotels.com and Ipsos—found that most wealthy travelers are from the post-’80s and post-’90s generations and are spending “unprecedented amounts” on luxury holidays. And now, the average age of those wealthy travelers is getting even younger.
(It should be noted that group travel is, by all reliable counts, the predominant mode of travel for Chinese, and is expected to remain so for the immediately foreseeable future. Also, the figures here, along with the rest of the findings in the report, reflect Ctrip’s user base; however, as the most widely-used online travel agency in China by far, its user base is largely representative of the overall Chinese travel market.)
In the first nine months of the year, post-’90s and post-’00s travelers accounted for 32 percent of all Chinese travelers, according to the report, surpassing the post-’80s generation as the largest tourist age group for the first time. The report notes that these younger travelers are of a more independent generation and they’re more willing to spend freely on their trips. Post-90s outspend their post-’80s counterparts with $818 (5,689 yuan) per trip, and post-’00s travelers spend even more at close to 6,000 yuan ($864).
The 2018 Chinese Travel Consumer Report also suggests some major shifts in the kind of experiences Chinese travelers are seeking. For example, it reports that entertainment product bookings rose by 110 percent compared to last year and the per-capita spending on these types of experiences rose by 24 percent. This category includes sightseeing tours or guided visits, but also services like mobile Wi-Fi. Thus, even if overall spending per capita by China tourists is declining, there are a substantial number of Chinese tourists spending more money on key types of experiences.
Note: Jing Travel was the principal source for this article.