Last year it was expensive toilet seats but this year Chinese tourists in Japan headed to stores to snap up cheaper items like Japanese condoms, sanitary pads and nail clippers over

the Lunar New Year break.

State-run Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday that 6 million mainlanders went overseas for the festive period, spending a record 90 billion yuan (HK$107 billion) on their travels.

Among the most popular items bought by mainland tourists were Okamoto condoms, sanitary napkins and cosmetics.

READ MORE:Tax cuts won’t stop China’s flush of enthusiasm for buying toilet seats in Japan: finance official

Other must-buys were insulated Thermos flasks and medicines such as cough syrup.

Purchases by mainland tourist helped more than double Lunar New year sales at the Takashimaya department store chain in Osaka, the report said.

In South Korea, Chinese holidaymakers also rushed to stores to buy everyday items like shampoo, herbal sanitary napkins and instant noodles, whereas those who went as far as the United States were more interested in cosmetics by brands such as Clinique and Benefit, and health and nutritional products by GNC and Puritan’s Pride.

German products, including Lamy pens, Zwilling JA Henckels cookware and Boker knives were particularly popular among Chinese visitors to Europe over the break.

Better quality and lower prices were among the reasons tourists gave for buying the foreign consumables, the report said.

READ MORE: Special buses catering for Chinese tourists on ‘explosive shopping’ trips to Japan are causing traffic headaches in Tokyo

Lu Hanlong, from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the purchases by Chinese tourists reflected a lack of confidence in domestic products.

One Shanghai resident who makes regular trips to South Korea for skincare products told Xinhua she did so because fake cosmetics were widespread on the mainland.

While Chinese tourists’ spending overseas during this year’s Lunar New Year hit record highs, the number of mainland tourists to Hong Kong dropped by 12 per cent.

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