Mobile payments drive Chinese tourist spending in Australia

Mobile payments drive Chinese tourist spending in Australia

A new report from Nielsen and Alipay has found 68 per cent of Chinese tourists in Australia used mobile payments during their visits last year, with shopping, accomodation and dining as the leading purchases.

This puts Australia ahead of the US and Canada which had a usage rate of 61 per cent, and Europe (France, UK, Italy, Germany) with a level of 60 per cent.

The joint report "2018 trends of Chinese mobile payment in outbound tourism" found the average budget for Chinese tourists traveling abroad increased by 15 per cent to $US6706 ($AU9382).

Mobile payments are now more popular than cash among Chinese tourists, with 32 per cent of transactions made via mobile in 2018. In Australia, souvenirs, arts and crafts, food and cosmetics were the most popular categories for mobile purchases. 

The findings coincide with the introduction of major Chinese payment platform Swiftpass to Australian shores through a tie-up with local player AirPay Financial Technologies, allowing local retailers and websites to use a wide variety of payment services including Alipay and WeChat Pay. 

The researchers' survey found discounts, quality and pricing were the three key factors weighing on Chinese tourists' shopping decisions.

There is still room for improvement however; close to three quarters of Chinese tourists visiting other Asian destinations used mobile payments, while in Australia just 63 per cent of respondents said they felt most merchants accepted mobile payments, falling short of North America (64 per cent) and Southeast Asia (66 per cent) but still well ahead of Europe (54 per cent).

The average Chinese outbound tourist visited an average of 2.8 countries/regions, up from 2.1 the previous year. 

Another interesting trend is that Chinese millennials are no longer the single most dominant group of mobile payment users abroad, with older generations catching up.

Nielsen and Alipay found 68 per cent of Chinese tourists born between 1970 and 1979 used mobile payment methods while traveling abroad in 2018, almost equalling the percentage for Millennials.

The survey found that mobile payments not only provided a convenient option for Chinese customers, but also helped boost sales for local merchants, with 71 per cent of Alipay-adopting merchants claiming they were likely to recommend Alipay to their peers. 

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