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Chinese tourists splurge US$7.2b overseas for luxuries during the Spring Festival 2012
Chinese tourists' spending on luxury goods overseas reached $7.2 billion in January, driven by holiday trips during the Spring Festival holiday.
Chinese consumers were big buyers of luxury goods worldwide during the recent Spring Festival holiday, an industry report showed.

Chinese tourists' spending on luxury goods overseas reached $7.2 billion in January, driven by holiday trips during the Spring Festival holiday that began on Jan 23, the World Luxury Association said in a report on Wednesday.

The figure was a record for Chinese residents buying luxury goods overseas, and was 15 percent higher than the association's pre-holiday forecast, the report said.

Lower prices overseas were the key attraction, with about 72 percent of those surveyed citing that factor, said Ouyang Kun, chief executive officer of the association's China office.

The report said that England and west Europe, North America, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan were the main destinations of these shoppers.

Chinese consumers contributed as much as 62 percent of the total sales in Europe's luxury market during the festival, the association found.

Total sales of luxury goods in the Chinese mainland in January totaled only $1.75 billion, less than one-fourth of the amount spent overseas, according to the association's report.

The growth rate for luxury goods sales overseas will exceed that of domestic sales in 2012, lifted by a stronger yuan and increased overseas travel, according to consultancy, Bain & Co China Inc.

It's common for overseas luxury sales to get a boost with big Chinese holidays such as the Lunar New Year or National Day, when long vacations make foreign travel easier. But the boom in overseas sales was at the expense of the domestic market, some business insiders said.

"The surge is just during the holidays and it doesn't represent the whole market," said Zhou Ting, executive director of the Research Center for Luxury Goods and Services at the University of International Business and Economics.

The overseas sales boom during holidays reflected the rise in foreign tourism, and the group of consumers buying luxury goods abroad weren't the core consumers for the segment, she said. These travelers only bought luxury goods "incidentally" during their holidays and don't have a fixed consumption of such items.

Related News in Chinese:
中国人春节境外奢侈品消费72亿美元 居全球之首
  Source: China Daily

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