Global luxury brand, Tiffany & Co, recently announced a sharp drop in US sales to overseas tourists. Sales to tourists visiting the US in Q1 2019 dropped by 25% from the same period in 2018. Notably, the drop was even more pronounced among tourists from China.
In Q1 2018, the US and China took their first steps towards protectionism before a series of rapidly escalating retaliatory measures led to an all-out trade war later that year. The data suggests that Chinese tourists were apparently very quick to vote with their feet…and their wallets.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting the US dropped in Q2 of last year and has been in a downtrend ever since. Which contrasts sharply with the bigger picture: overall outbound Chinese tourist numbers have been on a rising trend for the last five years.1
Chinese outbound tourist numbers