Chinese Customers: Some Keys For Success
Chinese Luxury consumers account for 30%-40% of worldwide Luxury consumption, if not 50%, for some product categories. And Chinese customers do not only buy Luxury products but also invest in high-rise properties, cars, education programs and so on. And they buy worldwide— just walk down New York’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’s Rue Saint-Honore. If you have a chance to be in Monaco, Nice, or Portofino, today the Chinese own the best properties and luxury cars. Even with a recent slowdown in Chinese Luxury consumption, China remains the second largest world economy and the nation is the number one consumer of Luxury products.
I observed that many of sales advisors—owing to a language barrier or cultural differences—are not comfortable serving Chinese customers. Some are even judgmental, and worse, disapproving. As a sales advisor, first and foremost, you need to respect Chinese consumers.
Sentiment and Appreciation
There is quite often resentment toward Chinese tourist consumers. Japanese tourists in Europe, years ago, were perceived as always carrying a camera. Today, Chinese tourists in Europe do not enjoy a good image.
Most of the time, they still travel in a group (though less and less) because it is easier, since a very large majority to not speak English (English language education was not part of their school curriculum). The younger generation will dare to travel independently; but most Chinese tourists prefer traveling in groups with friends or family. Always being “in a group” makes them more obvious somehow, highly visible. They are in a rush when they visit Western countries as there is so much to see. They dart from Milan to Paris, and to London. For many of them this is their first visit to Europe or to the USA. It is certainly stressful, especially because sometimes no one helps them, and they also have to constantly protect themselves from theft and touristic traps (they have heard many stories of such things before traveling).
Despite the language barrier, and their limited time frame, Chinese tourists have to combine sightseeing and shopping. They have little time to spend and many products to buy! Before arriving in Paris, they most likely have already prepared a list of what they will buy for themselves, but also for family and friends—basically to save money or to find items that are not yet released in China. We have to understand that they are tired of waiting in long queues outside some luxury stores, and once inside the store they do not speak or understand English, Italian or French. And they have to wait a long time to see the products that they already know they want to buy. Some sales advisors tend to complain about Chinese tourists and the fact that they buy Luxury without the Luxury codes. Many Chinese tourists visiting Europe feel disappointed about the service they receive: slow and unfriendly.
Should we show more appreciation? They are new consumers willing to share our passion for creativity and quality and therefore allow the industry of Luxury and high-end products to be able to continue to exist. The tremendous recent development of haute horlogerie is a good example, with more and more Chinese consumers knowing more and more about timepieces. There is no art without admirers, and buyers.
Chinese consumers are also buying properties and financing expensive education programs for their children. They are creating jobs, financing economies and they do participate in the development of the Luxury industry, allowing the creation of many employment opportunities.
With a positive state of mind, and better appreciation, you can learn how to better handle Chinese tourist consumers.