May 9, 2010
Indonesian Tourist: Classy
Chinese Tourist: Brassy
They are loud and demanding, speak little English and like items which scream 'expensive' all over.
Meet your average Chinese tourist. He or she is a sharp contrast to Indonesians, Singapore's top tourist spenders, according to sales staff The Sunday Times spoke to.
Said a sales person for French luxury leather goods brand Louis Vuitton: 'The Chinese tourists tend to be very loud, more demanding, and can sometimes be rude. The Indonesians are soft-spoken and easier to communicate with as they speak English. The Chinese still mostly speak Mandarin.' She added that the Indonesians are more fashionable as they often request exclusive or limited-edition designs.
A salesman at high-end German brand Hugo Boss, famous for its suits, agreed.
'Indonesian tourists come in knowing what they want, whereas the Chinese want to see everything and make their picks from there.'
He also observed that the Indonesians are the big-ticket spenders, buying suits, shirts and jeans. Chinese tourists go for less expensive products such as polo shirts but they buy in bulk - 10 to 20 pieces at a go. Indonesians spent $2.1 billion in Singapore last year, $702 million more than tourists from China, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.
In terms of design, it is the 'bling-er' the better for Chinese customers, noted a sales staff from Italian luxury jeweller Bulgari. 'Chinese tourists usually go for designs that have lots of diamonds, or the piece must have its brand prominently displayed so that others can immediately tell it's expensive.
'Indonesians, however, are interested in the latest designs, and are more tasteful.'
May 9, 2010
'I know I get the real deal here'
Whenever Mrs Huang Min Le visits Singapore with her husband, she has one aim in mind.
While he closes business deals during the semi-annual trips that last two to three days each, the 33-year-old 'tai-tai' closes in on high-end items at malls like Paragon and Ngee Ann City.
'I buy all my branded goods here because you know you're getting the real deal and the best quality. In China, the goods could be fake,' she said.
The Sunday Times followed her last Friday during a four-hour shopping spree in Orchard.
First stop was the Gucci outlet at 11am. She picked up three watches - two in stainless steel and one in edgy black - chalking up a $3,500 bill.
Next stop at noon was Burberry, where she splurged on a Beat Nylon Hobo bag, costing $1,500.
She moved on to Prada at 1.30pm, where she set her eyes on a pair of Prada Square Frame sunglasses. She paid $500.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend. No surprise, then, that she made a stop at 3pm at Tiffany & Co. She took a shine to two diamond pendants priced at $7,000 in all.
Total shopping tally? A whopping $12,500 in four hours - all paid for with a Visa platinum credit card.
'I don't see anything wrong with the way I spend if I can afford it; this is the normal price if you want high quality goods,' said Mrs Huang, who has no children.
Noting that many of her friends are also big spenders, she added that splurging is now a 'very common trend' among affluent young Chinese.
Shopping over, she headed back to her hotel, The Royal Plaza on Scotts.
Her plan for the next day?
'I'll shop again,' she said with a laugh.