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- 7 Jul 2016
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The Luxury Travel Trends of Affluent Asian Travelers


Reporting on the trends influencing affluent Asian travelers, Agility’s annual Affluent Insights Travel Consumer Report highlights the changing role of shopping, eating, and exploring while visiting a new destination.

Our most recent study uncovers the top three intended purchases for Affluent Asians, and they are inextricably linked: travel experiences, hotel accommodation, and air tickets.

These insights, derived from Agility’s annual Affluent Insights Travel Consumer Report, indicate a very positive outlook for the luxury travel market and a growing demand for luxury travel experiences and purchases by Affluent Asians during their travels.

The research, conducted on 2,441 affluent individuals in 8 key Asian markets (Figure 1), indicates that the majority of Affluent Asians are passionate about trying new things (a key driver for travel) and exploring new destinations and cultures.

Especially high on the list are the culture’s culinary offerings. Of those surveyed, 77% cite “trying out local cuisine” and “savouring local produce”; making gastronomic experiences the preferred travel activity overtaking shopping.


Where will these Affluent Asians be travelling to in the future? The top 3 future destinations were Tokyo, Osaka, and Hong Kong.

The favorability of the weak Yen, Japan’s proximity to many other countries in Asia, and its reputation for unique cultural traditions and natural beauty may contribute to what makes the country an attractive destination. This is especially true for those who seek something different and exciting. Travel activities done in Japan include skiing and hot springs, in addition to sightseeing and trying out authentic Japanese cuisine.

Some variations of desired travel destinations and experiences exist among different countries. For Affluent Chinese, The Maldives is the leading future travel destination, a testament to the island country’s commitment to attract more tourists from Asia. For the Chinese, nature experiences and eco-tourism are in the top 3 desired travel activities, different from other countries surveyed. For Affluent Japanese, perhaps not surprisingly, Hawaii remains the top travel destination.

 More than 50% of Affluent Asians buy luxury goods when travelling, and shopping plays a role when choosing destinations 

Although “shopping” has been topped by gastronomic experiences, luxury goods brands need not worry about the opportunities arising from these travelers: more than 50% of Affluent Asians buy luxury goods when travelling, and shopping plays a role when choosing destinations. In fact, about half of Affluent Asians deliberately choose destinations where they can buy luxury products, which is a slight increase from 2015 (figure 2). In Tokyo, travellers can stroll along the Shibuya District and be greeted by their favorite luxury brands. In Hong Kong, they can cool down from the summer heat inside one of the air conditioned luxury shopping malls in Causeway Bay. However, luxury brands need to anticipate (and act on) the influx of more Asian travelers to Osaka, a city not generally known for its reputation as a shopping destination.


Hotels and airline brands will definitely benefit from the fact that 7 in 10 Affluent Asians plan to travel more luxuriously in the future. More than 1 in 2 Affluent Asians agree that they only stay in 4-5 star hotels when travelling. Compared to 2015, our data suggests an increase in Affluent consumers upgrading airline class service (e.g. from business to first). The future of luxury accommodation, both on land and in air, is filled with opportunities arising from travelling Affluent Asians, for both leisure and business trips. On average, about 4 trips are taken annually, 2 for business and 2 for leisure. Affluent Singaporeans have the highest average of leisure trips taken with 3.1 trips in the past 12 months. Affluent Indians, on the other hand, have the highest average of business and “Bleisure” (business and leisure) trips taken with 3.3 and 2.8 trips, respectively.


Social media is the most popular source of awareness for airlines and hotels. Websites like Facebook, Google+, and Instagram are all potentially lucrative channels for brands to consider marketing with, especially to lure in the young, digitally savvy, and social Affluent Asian travelers. In China; WeChat and Sina Weibo are significantly more popular than their western competitors like Facebook. In addition, 81% of Affluent Asians research travel, and 77% of them book, online. All of this means that brands’ digital presence is more crucial than ever.

To summarize, the future demand for luxury travel experiences and luxury shopping during travels remain strong. A key insight from our Travel Report is that these Affluent Asians travel for one main purpose: to explore a new destination, something beyond their routine day to day work schedules, and to try new experiences. Consistent to what many marketing experts say about the current zeitgeist: people want to purchase valuable one of a kind experiences, more than material things.

With this information, brands can find ways to innovate and capitalize: i.e.: make special limited edition items available only in some destinations (cherry blossom inspired collection, anyone?); create a truly local hotel experience; or collaborate with restaurants in the travel destination for business class dining. These consumers are finding novel ways to escape the mundane and elevate their senses. After all, isn’t that what luxury is truly about?


Amrita Banta is Managing Director at Agility Research & Strategy. Agility Research & Strategy is a World Class Research and Consulting company with a core focus on the Affluent and Luxury Consumers for premium brands. Affluential, powered by Agility is a leading consumer intelligence portal helping brands engage with Affluent consumers in more than 20 key economies across the United States, Europe and Asia.