Champagne and oysters

It’s that time of year. Summer’s finished, the holiday season is over and the drinks industry can look back at the global travel retail (TFWA Cannes) and look forward to Christmas.

The scale of opportunity in GTR is almost hard to take in. In most of the Americas and Europe we have it all pretty much nailed down. The emergence of low-cost travel, thanks to the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet, have provided an immense fillip to air travel. Africa is still out there but we may be a few light years away from it starting to fulfil its possible potential.

Basically, it’s Asia that is the GTR equivalent of going to Jupiter or another galaxy. Its potential is a case of: “How long’s a piece of string?”

Self-styled champagne guru Giles Fallowfield’s article on champagne in GTR throws up some interesting statistics. In terms of bottles shipped, the channel sits between Belgium and Australia and has a 3% market share of all champagne sales. Then, when you consider that a mere 5% of people travelling actually buy something en route, it makes you realise, if you haven’t already, that the potential for GTR is HUGE.

I recall a conversation some years ago with a senior exec in Pernod Ricard Travel Retail. She pointed out that in Europe there were two airport developments, one of which was an extension at Charles de Gaulle, while in India alone the airports being built on greenfield sites were in double digits and some were servicing cities of 10m-plus.

Jean-Christian de la Chevalerie of Laurent-Perrier says in Fallowfield’s feature that, while China has two huge hubs at Beijing and Shanghai, there are another 90 airports in this vast country.

When you contemplate what scotch whisky and cognac have done down this channel, you realise the major champagne houses have plenty to play for.

The world of global travel retail is their oyster.