Half of Chinese tourists shop at Lotte Duty Free

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Half of Chinese tourists shop at Lotte Duty Free

Half of Chinese tourists who visited Korea during their National Day vacation earlier this month shopped at Lotte Duty Free, according to figures released by the company on Tuesday.

This year, 250,000 people visited from China during their weeklong holiday that began on Oct. 1, a 19 percent increase from last year. The boost contributed to even rosier numbers for Lotte Duty Free, which saw the number of shoppers from Chinese tour groups jump 28 percent from last year’s 94,000 to 120,000 this year.

Lotte Duty Free credited its online marketing strategy for the increased traffic. The retailer is widely considered in the local duty-free industry as a pioneer in targeting Chinese consumers through online marketing. Back in 2012, it was the first to launch an online shopping site where Chinese tourists could make purchases from home and then collect the items when they arrived in Korea. Lotte Duty Free first sold cosmetics and bags through this feature, both items that are popular among traveling shoppers.

The company also has accounts on Renren, a Chinese version of Facebook, as well as messaging app WeChat and Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo. Lotte provides information about shopping promotions as well as posts on Korean tourism and celebrities through these social media channels. The company’s Weibo account has 7.29 million followers, the second most among non-Chinese companies after Samsung Electronics.

During the Chinese National Day period, Lotte Duty Free was listed first among Korean duty-free brands in terms of popularity on the Baidu Index released by China’s largest search engine. The index is calculated based on the number of times a company was searched and how frequently it comes up on lists of “related search results” and serves as a criterion for evaluating a brand’s awareness and popularity among Chinese consumers.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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