What happened: Alibaba’s travel services platform Fliggy has added a new duty-free shopping feature named Fliggy Buy, which provides consumers detailed product information including buyer reviews prior to international voyages. Chinese travelers can purchase a range of products, including cosmetics, suitcases, bags, and alcohol, and retrieve the goods after arriving at their destination. Roman Zhu, head of Fliggy Buy, said that duty-free and tax-free stores were the priority during the first phase of Fliggy Buy’s launch, and that it will include more high-end luxury brands and household electrics among future offerings.
Why it’s important: Chinese tourists are big spenders, accounting for $115 billion in spending on international trips in 2017, according to a report jointly released by China Tourism Academy and online travel agency Ctrip. Average spend for Chinese travelers going overseas grew 9% year-on-year in 2018. This new feature points to a behavioral shift: As outbound travel becomes more accessible, priorities for Chinese tourists are evolving from shopping sprees and toward local experiences.