Chinese tourists are luxury shopaholics… in the United States!

After Europe, Chinese tourists attack U.S. stores (read also our article about the tourism market of chinese). Last few years, shopping centers and American tour-operators recorded the biggest expenses from Chinese people! The principle? Many buses are parked in front of big U.S. malls, and Chinese tourists are scrambling to buy bags that they will fill with only luxury clothing and shoes or high-end accessories purchased in America. No rest for the rich Chinese customers considered as “speed buyers” according to Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of Simon Property.

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Chinese tourists, the biggest foreign spenders in the United States

These almost compulsive and rushed purchases are justified by the fact that the luxury goods purchased in the United States is 2-3 times cheaper than in China (see the explanation here). This applies to brands such as Coach, UGG, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and L’Occitane experiencing high taxes in China. Chinese tourists therefore benefit more and to buy expensive gifts for their families and their business partners. We figure spending on gifts to 33% of their total expenditure.

Chinese tourists spend an average of $ 2,932 per visit in California when other overseas tourists do spend only $ 1883 (according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Industry, Travel and Tourism). Now, the expenses of Chinese far exceed those of other wealthy tourists as the rich Japanese, Brazilians or Australians. Ernest Wooden, president of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board noted that Chinese tourists do not come to California to “lay on the beach,” but to do what they love: shopping.


Thanks partly to the high proportion of Chinese tourists, tourist spending in 2012 in the United States reached a record with 168.1 billion dollars.

The proportion of Chinese tourists is increasing and that’s why those expenses are rising. The growth of China and especially its upper middle class is the main factor explaining the rise of Chinese tourists in the United States. To illustrate that, in 2011 China had more than 247 million Chinese from the middle class (18% of its population). In 2020, it is expected to grow to over 600 million.

The types of expenses vary depending on the origin of tourists

Australians share a culture almost similar to the one of the United States culture. They are more sensitive to museums, art galleries and historic sites in this country (Ground Zero Memorial Pearl Harbor etc.) ,than other tourists.

According to surveys of travel, Japanese tourists spend more time in American restaurants. Indeed, in Japan some foods are much more expensive than in the United States, and especially red meat.

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Finally, for Chinese, the highlight of their trip is the shopping sessions in major shopping centers, equipped with empty suitcases freshly purchased. However and according to Ding Shang, a Chinese tourist from Guangzhou, Chinese also take the opportunity to see the famous sights such as the casinos of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and see Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.