The silver generation in China includes people aged 60 and over. They are an important consumer group as China has gradually morphed into an aging society as a byproduct of the one-child policy. In recent years, with the improvement of the quality of life of middle-aged and elderly people, after retirement, the number of Chinese silver generation tourists has increased significantly. They can be seen in many scenic spots, even in some remote areas.
Current trends in China’s tourism market
A survey recently released by the Tourism Research Center of China revealed that China’s post-60s group has become the main driving force of China’s tourism market. In 2020, more than 10.8% of silver generation tourists in China spent more than 10,000 yuan on travel, more than post-80s generation or post 00’s
However, in terms of family travel spending, the post-80s generation is the main consumer. In the past year, more than 46% of the post-80s respondents spent more than 5,000 yuan on family travel and 23.9% of the respondents spent more than 10,000 yuan on family travel.
Data Source: the Tourism Research Center China, Spending on travel by Chinese tourists in 2020. Each category’s data is inclusive of the higher categories.
Silver generation’s preferences in China’s tourism market
Silver generation tourists in China prefer to choose neighboring countries or regions with shorter flight time as their outbound destinations. For example, Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand, Seoul in South Korea, Tokyo and Osaka in Japan are all places where elderly travelers are keen to travel. These travel destinations have relatively good services for Chinese tourists, and elderly travelers can enjoy more convenient travel.
As China’s population ageing continues, the proportion of domestic elderly tourists has increased significantly. Elderly tourists have a completely different travel style from the millennials and Gen Z in China.
Compared with students and white-collar workers, elderly tourists have more leisure time to book and arrange their own trips, and often book their trips up to 75 days in advance. The Ctrip’s official data shows older app users spend 2.5 hours on the APP while booking trips, whereas younger users only spend two hours on average.
Popular domestic destinations for Chinese silver generation tourists
Source: Ctrip, Top-5 domestic destinations for Chinese elderly tourists
In terms of domestic travel, more than 65% of the elderly prefer to travel domestically. The biggest amount of silver generation tourists lives in first-tier and second-tier cities. Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Dalian, Suzhou, Luoyang, Guilin, Wuxi, Shenzhen and Nanjing are the top ten most popular destinations for elderly tourists. It can be seen that most of these destinations are located in Eastern and Southern China.