56% of Middle East and Africa travellers spending less, reveals m1nd-set data

By Luke Barras-hill |

Despite the turbulent trading conditions, duty free is expected to bounce back strongly as the MEA and Asia Pacific regions continue to attract spending, according to m1nd-set.

Fifty-nine percent of travellers from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Asia Pacific regions claim the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the way they shop and are influenced to spend in duty free, research from m1nd-set reveals.

The result is higher than the global average of 55%, with the crisis directly impacting the purchasing power of MEA and Asia Pacific travellers at 56% and 54%, respectively, with both spending less against the global average of 50%.

Discretionary spending on skincare, alcohol, gifts, perfumes and chocolate has declined by 40% for travellers from Asia Pacific and by 45% in the case of those from the MEA – both significantly higher than the global average of 35%.

However, m1nd-set’s research (see below image gallery) shows that average spend on the last international trip in the duty free shops was 10% higher than the global average (circa US$185 compared to US$168) across both regions.

The importance of promotions and travel retail exclusives for travellers from both regions emerged as a key finding from the research. Seventy-six percent of Asia Pacific shoppers say they purchased products on promotion in the duty free shop, which is higher than the global average of 73%. Meanwhile, 66% of MEA shoppers stated they purchased items on promotion.

Shoppers from MEA and Asia Pacific tend to purchase more categories than the global average, m1nd-set continues.

When it comes to footfall, the MEA region ranks slightly higher (45%) than the global average (39%) while Asia Pacific volumes are moderately lower (36%) than the global average.

Conversion data reveals the opposite trend, with Asia Pacific travellers tending to spend more than any other region (65%) with MEA travellers boasting one of the lowest conversion rates (54%) when compared to the global average (56%).

Among the other findings, nearly 80% of shoppers from both regions compare prices, with 20% of MEA shoppers and 25% of Asia Pacific shoppers looking for deals online.

Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development at m1nd-set, said: “It’s important to note that despite the extremely challenging context for the industry and the reduction in spend levels generally, the research shows that duty free industry will bounce back strongly as duty free is clearly attracting shopper spend from both regions, in this post-pandemic era, given the above average spend levels.

“We are seeing a spike in interest from companies across all categories who are keen on deep-dive analysis, to understand how specific customer segments are behaving. It’s encouraging to see such strong demand for these in-depth consumer insights; it’s a great sign of recovery for the industry.”

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