Lunar New Year sparked surge in mobile payments among Chinese travelers
Alipay revealed that overseas consumption per capita by Chinese travelers from smaller cities during this month’s Lunar New Year celebrations grew faster than those traveling from China’s largest cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to an Alipay press release.
The number of users traveling overseas who were born between 1960 and 1969 rose 230% compared to the one-week New Year festivity period last year, while their total consumption jumped 250% year-over-year, the press release stated.
The number of traveling Alipay users born between 1970 and 1979 also increased sharply, by about 190% compared to the holiday week in 2018, while their total consumption rose 232% year over year.
Alipay is becoming harder to ignore in the rest of the world outside China, even in a global market very crowded with mobile payment apps.
The Lunar New Year consumption and usage figures reinforce what Alipay has been saying for a long time about the growing buying power of Chinese tourists abroad, and how much they use Alipay. The company has been employing its studies of China’s international tourists and their spending patterns to persuade more merchants in other countries to accept Alipay.
For example, a study from Alipay and Nielsen last year suggested that 65% of Chinese tourists use mobile payment capabilities while traveling overseas, a much higher rate than among non-Chinese tourists. This trend has helped Alipay expand its availability to merchants in other countries. North America-based merchants that were quick to adopt Alipay include Lacoste, Guess and GNC, and 7-Eleven has come on board as well.
The latest figures also show that Alipay usage has grown beyond consumers who live in the biggest Chinese cities to reach those in what Alipay described as third-tier and fourth-tier cities. In addition, the company’s data shows that Alipay usage is growing among somewhat older demographics. These are important trends for merchants globally, because it may indicate how mobile payments will evolve in the U.S. and elsewhere.
While China is ahead of much of the rest of the world with mobile payments, there have been indications over the last year or so that mobile and contactless payments are growing everywhere. For example, a PYMNTS.com study found that 45% of online shoppers complete their purchases via mobile, and Target announced last month that it would start accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay and other forms of contactless payment in stores. Consumers are getting more accustomed to shopping and paying via mobile, and retailers and brands must be ready.