Report: Chinese consumer shopping behaviour in Leeds

In a report commissioned by the Business Confucius Institute (BCI), Consumer Analytics and Marketing Strategy student Ha Thu Nguyen shares her research into Chinese consumer shopping behaviour in Leeds and makes recommendations for retailer promotional activity on key dates.

The consultancy work was carried out in response to a brief set by the BCI as part of the Leeds University Business School Summer Consultancy Projects programme.

Read on to learn more about the project and the resulting recommendations. We share Ha’s reflections on the experience in this companion piece.

What is covered in the report?

In her report Ha provides an overview of data about Chinese visitors to the UK and to Leeds, before summarising the findings from her qualitative and quantitative research.

Quotes from interviews are used to highlight opinions about different aspects of shopping in Leeds, providing insights into the importance of key dates and other factors such as sales and attitudes to gift-giving.

I usually focus on the price for [a] long time. When it has the discount, I will buy it immediately

Results from the survey provide further data about shopping habits, and the author also provides a handy introduction to the Chinese key dates mentioned.

View full report

Recommendations for retailers

Based on her findings, Ha suggests actions that retailers can take to attract Chinese consumers. These are summarised below.

Focus on shopping enjoyment

Make shopping an experience. Highlight the festive atmosphere during key celebrations and entice shoppers with fun opportunities to engage.

Encourage gift-giving

Highlight and promote products that are commonly given as gifts. These include clothing, accessories, decorations and (for parents) health supplements. A discount can make a gift opportunity too good to miss!

Link offers to Chinese key dates

Chinese people in the UK don’t enjoy the same special atmosphere that they would experience in China during important Chinese festivals. A well-timed greeting and offer could boost their motivation to shop.

Create shopping opportunities linked to UK key dates

Chinese consumers don’t feel a strong connection to key dates in the UK calendar, but Chinese visitors in the UK are keen to experience the country and culture. This could be an opportunity for retailers to actively engage with Chinese customers about UK culture and celebrations.

Use the right platform

Chinese students gravitate to WeChat and Weibo, with Instagram coming top out of Western social media platforms.

Consider recommendation apps

Little Red Book is a Chinese recommendation app that is particularly popular for fashion, cosmetics and travel. Over 55% of survey respondents reported regularly using the app.

Assistance in Mandarin

Chinese consumers often feel more comfortable speaking Mandarin than English. According to Visit Britain, Chinese tourists appreciate assistance in Chinese such as signage and Mandarin-speaking staff.

Learn more

Read Ha’s reflections on the project and lessons learned.

Find out more about Leeds University Business School Summer Consultancy Projects on the Business School website.

The main image on this page is taken from our video Improving the customer experience for Chinese visitors. The image shows two Chinese students in the Body Shop flagship store on Leeds Briggate receiving a skincare consultation from a Body Shop employee.