Europe will be among the top destinations for the 94 million mainland Chinese who are expected to travel abroad by 2015, according to McKinsey & Co. Their tour-group itineraries are showing day-long trips to luxury outlets - squeezing short visits to the Eiffel Tower and Louvre museum in between.
By turning their holidays into lengthy shopping excursions, the Chinese are propping up European sales and aiding the outlook for brands from Prada to Gucci, even as the euro zone faces a second year of economic contraction. Close to a third of Chinese luxury buyers will shop in Europe in 2013, McKinsey estimates, up from a fifth last year.
Helping drive the overseas purchases are China's import taxes on luxury items and added rebates on European taxes available to non-residents. The cost of 20 luxury items in China, including bags and watches, was 72 per cent higher than in France and 45 per cent higher than in Hong Kong, according to a 2011 survey by the Ministry of Commerce. Chinese from richer cities are also picking Europe and the US over nearby Hong Kong as they seek out new experiences, according to UBS Securities.