China Unbounded: The Rapid Rise of China’s Outbound Millions

China Unbounded: The Rapid Rise of China’s Outbound Millions Published April 2016 Analysts: Maggie Rauch, Mark Blutstein, Bing Liu, Douglas Quinby


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Chinese travelers have been an emerging force for several years. They represent a huge amount of trip traffic and travel spend – and with the easing of travel and visa restrictions that once made trips abroad inaccessible for all but a tiny sliver of the population, they are making up for lost time. When they go abroad, Chinese travelers are taking those mobile-savvy habits with them, even as many visit a country or a continent for the first time. 

Phocuswright's China Unbounded: The Rapid Rise of China’s Outbound Millions is a first-of-its-kind look at the Chinese outbound traveler, examining behaviors and motivations across the travel life cycle, from destination selection to in-destination purchases and everything in between. It examines Chinese travelers’ online shopping habits on travel products from air and lodging to shopping and vacation packages. 

Research highlights include:

  • The size of the outbound Chinese traveler market, including forecasts for total and online travel markets
  • Travel attitudes and preferences across demographics, travel behavior, trip type and destination
  • Decision-making and planning variances by destination
  • Key trends driving the outbound Chinese travel market

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Phocuswright thanks its sponsors for China Unbounded: The Rapid Rise of China’s Outbound Million. Without their active support, this research would not have been possible.

Auckland International Airport
Fáilte Ireland
FRHI Hotels & Resorts 
Hawaii Tourism Authority
InterGlobe Technologies
Kuoni Group
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Meritus Hotels & Resorts
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Travel Alberta

  • Introduction
  • Outbound & Rising
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Overview: Major Trends and Trip Characteristics
    • Seasonality
    • Travel Party
    • Motivation
    • Spend Trends
    • Age, Income and City Tier: Post-80s Generation Leads Outbound Travel Growth
  • The Journey Starts Online: Destination Research and Travel Shopping
    • Social Influence on Travel Search and Shop
  • Groups and the Emerging Independent Traveler
    • The Emerging Independent Traveler
  • Booking and Payments
    • Payments
  • Segment Spotlights: Lodging and In-Destination Activities
    • Lodging
    • In-Destination Activities
  • Looking Ahead: The Future of Chinese Outbound Travel
  • Appendix: Demographics
  • Sponsors

Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey in November 2015 through AIP Corporation. The survey targeted Chinese adults who travel internationally for leisure.

To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to be at least 18 years of age, have access to the Internet, and have taken at least one overnight leisure trip in the past 12 months to one of the six destination regions: Greater China, Southeast Asia (e.g. Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia), Northeast Asia (e.g., Japan, Korea), Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and the U.S. and Canada. In addition, respondents must have played an active role in planning their international trips. Responses were weighted by age and gender against the Chinese online population.

Oversampling was conducted to ensure a sufficiently large sample of respondents who traveled to select destinations (a quota of 500 per region). Phocuswright received 3,043 qualified responses out of a sample of 25,000 travelers who participated in the survey. Responses were weighted by age and gender against the Chinese online population as well as by the share of Chinese outbound trips to each destination region according to statistics released by China National Tourism Administration. Results are projectable to the Chinese outbound traveler population at a 95% confidence level with a +/-1.8% margin of error.

This study sample includes significant representation beyond Tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen). Tier 2 cities include Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Fuzhou, Harbin, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenyang, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan, Wuxi and Xiamen.

The term long-haul travel is used in this report to refer to a trip to the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. In contrast, short-haul travel refers to a trip within Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia.

US $895 
CA $1,185 • £680 • €807
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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