People in the age range 25 to 34 were the single-largest group of visitors to Macau in 2019, representing 23.4 percent of all arrivals, indicates Morgan Stanley Research Asia Ltd.
When combined with those in the age range 35 to 44 – a further 20.1 percent of 2019 visitors – the two groups accounted for 43.5 percent of all Macau tourists that year.
The institution describes that age cohort as “millennials”. It bases the numbers on the Macau government’s visitor statistics database, which since the start of 2017 has included information on age categories of visitors.
“Though visitation is not the same as gambling, the survey suggests that millennials do travel to Macau a lot. This is positive for the long-term demand of Macau business,” wrote analysts Praveen Choudhary and Gareth Leung in a Wednesday note.
According to the Pew Research Center, a United States-based think tank in Washington D.C., anyone born between 1981 and 1996 – i.e. in the age range of 23 to 38 in 2019 – “is considered a millennial”.
Michael Zhu, senior vice president of international operations planning and analysis at consultancy the Innovation Group, told GGRAsia in November 2018 that there was value in the traditional casino sector broadening its product offer. He said his firm’s research suggested “millennials” were “not very interested in bricks-and-mortar gaming”.
While it might be hard to get an entirely objective perspective on the issue, Morgan Stanley noted in its memo that “Chinese” millennials aged 25 to 34 saw their contribution to total Macau visitor numbers grow 5 percentage points year-on-year to 30 percent in the February to March period this year, coinciding with a time when the region was already being affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Morgan Stanley said those in the 35 to 44 age range saw their contribution to Macau tourism rise 7 percentage points, to 28 percent year-on-year during the same period of time.
Morgan Stanley noted that when comparing 2017 and 2019, Chinese visitors from so-called “Generation X” – i.e., the age range 45 to 54 – declined as a percentage of the total; from 20.3 percent in 2017 to 18.4 percent in 2019, although the aggregate number of visitors from that age group rose from 4.5 million in 2017 to 5.1 million in 2019.
Macau visitors aged 15 or below were the “fastest growing group”, with the number of Chinese visitors in that cohort in the past two years up 47 percent, said Morgan Stanley.
“This can be explained by increased hotels and GGR [gross gaming revenue]” being centred on the Cotai area, “which has more non-gaming facilities for families,” said the institution.
“This is another positive for the long-term demand of Macau gaming,” suggested the Morgan Stanley team.
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”Boosted by increasing investment linked to the issuance of new gaming concessions and further integration with the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area, [Macau's] growth is expected to accelerate to 23 percent in 2023"
International Monetary Fund