Consumers still think there is a price advantage from shopping at airports

New research commissioned by the Tax Free World Association, the lead trade body for the global travel retail/duty free sector, claims that more than half of passengers (53%) believe that there is a price advantage to be gained by shopping at the airport.

The study, conducted by travel retail research specialist Counter Intelligence Retail, says this is higher than any other travel retail category.

It says the research showed that half of those taking part in the study say they would be encouraged to purchase in the future if prices were cheaper, while a substantial 38% check prices before they go to the airport.

The TFWA says the research highlights how to maximise opportunity in this important channel. Value for money remains a critical driver in the duty free sector and is key to increasing footfall, conversion and spend at airports.

After price, however, a wide range of products was the next most compelling reason to buy, with one in four of those surveyed stating that they would be tempted to buy in the future if a broader selection was available.

Travel retail exclusives are also important to alcohol shoppers, and just under two thirds (61%) said that good value is the most important attraction while just under half (49%) like being able to buy products that aren’t available elsewhere.

A significant two thirds (62%) purchase for themselves, and on average buyers spend more on alcohol when buying for themselves than when buying a gift. Just one in five consider alcohol as suitable for gifting, the survey reveals.

Product sampling and ‘gift with purchase’ are the most appealing promotional initiatives, chosen by more than half (52%). When it comes to marketing activity that fails to hit the mark, lack of anything that catches the eye is the main barrier to purchase cited by just under a third (32%), while the absence of attractive promotions is a barrier to purchase for one-in-five.

Planned spending on alcohol in duty free and travel retail shops is higher than among buyers in all other categories combined, says the TFWA. While half of buyers in all categories plan their purchase, this figure rises to two thirds among alcohol buyers. Similarly while two in five shoppers across all categories know what brand they will choose, three in four alcohol shoppers know the name they will opt for.

TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen said; “The duty free sector clearly presents drinks brands with considerable scope for development. Price is still an important motivator to purchase alcohol at the airport, and retailers need to do all they can to ensure that the value proposition is fully understood by passengers. However driving sales in this sector will be about more than cost cutting. There is significant opportunity to encourage customers with initiatives such as engaging gift with purchase promotions as well as the appeal of the travel retail exclusive. Developing gifting also represents an untapped opportunity, and there is room for growth here,” said Juul-Mortensen.

The TFWA Alcohol Duty Free and Travel Retail Category Report was based on approximately 1,000 shopper interviews conducted at four key airports across the globe. A minimum of 50% of the sample were said to beduty free buyers. Each interview lasted approximately 15 minutes.
The full report is available is exclusive to TFWA members.