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Nielsen: More Than Half Independent Chinese Travelers Plan To Revisit Taiwan Within 1 Year

More than 95 percent of independent Chinese tourists who visited Taiwan in the past year want to make a return trip, and more than half plan to revisit in the coming year, according to the first independent report on Chinese tourists in Taiwan.

The Nielsen Independent Chinese Tourists to Taiwan Study was conducted by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

According to Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency of Ministry of the Interior, 522,443 Chinese citizens independently traveled to Taiwan in 2013, almost three times as many Chinese visitors as there were in 2012. And the study shows that independent Chinese travelers visit Taiwan for an average of seven days. 

According to Nielsen’s study, the average Independent Chinese tourist’s monthly income is over RMB18,520 (NT$90,748; $3,000 USD) – or RMB141,420 (NT$1,088,976; $36,000 USD) per year. This average easily meets Taiwan’s annual income requirement for mainland Chinese tourists: NT$500,000, or RMB102,041 ($16,529 USD).

The Goldmine: Non-Tier 1 travelers

The study also reveals distinct differences between overnight visitors from Tier 1 and non-Tier 1 cities. Tier 1 respondents were more likely to be male (53%), their average age was 42, and their average monthly income was RMB18,520 (NT$90,748; $3,000 USD). Non-Tier 1 respondents skewed female (62%), their average age was 48, and their average monthly income was RMB19,726 (NT$96,657; $3,195 USD). Excluding airfare, the average spending for non-Tier 1 travelers is RMB15,252 (NT$74,735; $2,471 USD) – 77 percent of their monthly income, and 14 percent higher than Tier 1 cities’ visitors.

What’s the biggest spend for Chinese tourists when visiting Taiwan? Shopping. Non-Tier 1 cities’ travelers spend an average of RMB6,476 (NT$31,425; $1,041 USD), 21.7 percent more than Tier 1 tourists.

The most popular shopping items for both Tier 1 and non-Tier 1 travelers are special products from Taiwan, souvenirs and handicrafts, followed by packaged food, facial care products, electronics and luxury branded fashion for Chinese travelers from Tier 1 cities. As for non-Tier 1 travelers, the next-most-popular shopping items are facial care products, followed by packaged food, luxury branded fashion, jewelry and watches.

“Non-Tier 1 city visitors are the new and important emerging consumer segment for Taiwan, and they are expected to continue the growth path,” observed Seren Su, senior director, Consumer Insight, Nielsen Taiwan. “It would be wrong for Taiwan players who are dependent on sales to Chinese tourists to assume that shoppers from non-Tier 1 cities have similar shopping and consumption habits as Chinese Tier 1 visitors.” 

How do independent Chinese tourists pay in Taiwan? Credit cards are the most-favored payment method, with over 80 percent usage, followed by cash, with more than 60 percent usage. “This indicates a growing need for banks and retailers to understand how credit card usage influences purchase behavior,” said Su.

The top three popular sightseeing spots for independent Chinese tourists were the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101 and National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. For Tier 1 travelers, the fourth-hottest spot was Ximending, while for non-Tier 1 tourists it was Bei Tou hot spring.

Overall, independent Chinese tourists are attracted to Taiwan for its local customs, rich culture, natural scenery, various street food choices and common language.

I’ll be back next year!

More than 50 percent of the travelers surveyed said they plan to return to Taiwan within a year. On average, these tourists have a higher monthly income, more than RMB20,000 (NT$97,053; $3,216 USD). However, visitors who plan to revisit Taiwan in the next year from Tier 1 cities intend to stay for an average of 7.74 days, longer than their first visit, and tourists from Non-Tier 1 cities also plan to slightly extend their second stay, to an average of 7.55 days.

How about those Chinese travelers who have never visited Taiwan but plan to go there within a year? These visitors will stay from an average of 6.86 days (from Tier 1 cities) to 7.35 days (from non-Tier 1 cities). Their average monthly income is lower than the independent Chinese tourists who have previously traveled to Taiwan.

“Though the Nielsen study shows that the independent Chinese tourists’ revisit intention is really high due to Taiwan’s local customs, rich culture and natural scenery, Taiwan should further understand different segments of these tourists to give them more reasons to revisit Taiwan. Cross-industry and cross-country cooperation among the transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and shopping sectors could lead to the design of theme trips to entice these tourists to lengthen their stays and increase the frequency of their visits. And of course, their spending would also increase,” said Su.

For more information, please contact Alison Lin (886 2 2756 8668 ext. 670) or Yitina Liao (886 2 2756 8668 ext. 609).

About Nielsen Independent Chinese Tourists to Taiwan Study

Nielsen Independent Chinese Tourists to Taiwan Study was conducted between March 7 to 18, 2014, and polled 1,009 online respondents in 26 cities in mainland China to understand independent Chinese tourists’ purchase patterns and experiences in Taiwan. Respondents were mainland China visitors aged 18-59 who have traveled to Taiwan in the past 12 months. The sample has quotas based on age and gender for each city’s population, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±3%.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

Contact: Cheryl Wen, +886 2 2756 8668