Rising Asian demand for luxury experiences offers retail opportunities

ASIA. There is a growing demand among affluent Asians for luxury travel experiences and luxury purchases during travel, according to a new report from Agility Research & Strategy.

Travel experiences are among the top three future purchases for affluent Asians, along with hotel accommodation and air tickets, the company said. Almost 80% of affluent Chinese plan to spend money on travel experiences.

Agility’s annual Affluent Insights Travel Consumer Report is based on research conducted on 2,441 affluent individuals in eight Asian markets (China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan).

The report shows that the majority of affluent Asians are passionate about “trying new things”, which Agility noted was a key driver for travel. A majority are also keen on exploring new destinations and cultures, and particularly culinary heritage.

A key finding is that gastronomic experiences are now the number one travel activity, ahead of shopping. Of those surveyed, 77% said they wanted to try local cuisine and produce.

However, high-end shopping is still a popular activity – more than one in two affluent Asians mainly buy luxury goods when travelling. A similar number also stated that they prefer destinations where they can buy luxury products, a slight increase from Agility’s 2015 report.

“Please rate how strongly you agree with each of the following statements.” (Completely agree + Somewhat agree) Base: Total sample; n = 5,373, Source: Agility Affluent Insights 2015 and 2016

TOP DESTINATIONS

Agility said the top three future destinations for affluent Asians are Tokyo, Osaka, and Hong Kong. It attributed the attractiveness of Japan to the weak Yen, its proximity to many other countries in Asia, and its reputation for cultural traditions and natural beauty.

In retail terms, Agility stated that “luxury goods brands need to anticipate (and act on) the influx of more Asian travellers to Osaka, a city not generally known for its reputation as a shopping destination”.

For affluent Chinese travellers, the Maldives is the top planned future travel destination. The island country has made significant attempts to attract more tourists from Asia in recent times. For the Chinese, nature experiences and eco-tourism are in the top three desired travel activities, in marked contrast to other countries surveyed. For affluent Japanese, Hawaii remains the number one travel destination.