Teenagers are increasingly important consumers in the ever-expanding market for Chinese students looking to study overseas, according to a report issued by leading Chinese online leisure travel company Tuniu.
According to the report, middle-school and high-school students accounted for 73 percent of the total customers for overseas study tours. In addition, customers outside those two groups tended to be even younger; elementary-school students accounted for 11 percent of all those utilizing the service.
Sixty-five percent of those participating in the study tours say they hope to broaden their horizons, while 58 percent want to improve their foreign language skills. At the same time, more than half want to be more independent and experience the differences between Chinese and Western culture.
The report found that culture, the presence of elite schools, climate, visa application process, safety and cost of living are the main elements that influence the selection of tour destinations. Statistics from Tuniu suggested that the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France and Australia are the top five destinations for overseas study tours among Chinese consumers. The number of people going to Canada, Japan and Singapore is also rising.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed preferred study tours that last two to four weeks. Participants in those tours normally live with local residents, which helps them adapt in a very short period.
Most parents are able to remain rational about cost when selecting study tours. Forty-seven percent of parents think an expense between 20,000 (($2,944) and 30,000 RMB (4,416) is acceptable, while 37 percent select tours costing less 20,000. Only 16 percent of parents prefer high-end tours with prices higher than 30,000 RMB.
With further market segmentation, study tour providers will offer more targeted products for different groups of customers, including adults, university students and middle-school students. In addition, traditional tour packages will no longer satisfy customers who are becoming increasingly informed and professional. As a result, customized products will be more and more popular in the future.