Indian shoppers more likely to engage with retail staff on trips, research shows

By Luke Barras-hill |

Around two thirds (65%) of Indian shoppers interacted with duty free shop staff during recent international trips – well above the global average (47%), according to insights from m1nd-set.

The m1nd-set Indian travel market and shopper behaviour research reveals that more than eight out of ten (82%) Indian shoppers reported that staff interactions impacted positively on decisions to purchase compared with the global average of 71%.

“The above-average tendency of Indian shoppers to engage should be an opportunity to tap into the Indians’ quest for singularity and stylishness,” commented m1nd-set Owner and CEO Peter Mohn. “Staff training programmes should focus on various cultural, social, and behavioural differences between the various nationalities, so staff know how to engage and what is more likely to influence the purchase decision.”

The top three purchase drivers for Indian shoppers are consistent with the global trend, namely value for money, convenience and brand loyalty, says the research.

They are also more prone to purchasing trendy or unique products when shopping in duty free and travel retail.

Mohn explained: “Indian shoppers place considerable importance on the stylishness of brands when shopping in the travel retail environment. Almost twice as many Indian shoppers – 19% compared to 10% among global shoppers – highlighted this aspect as important to them when shopping. Another behavioural aspect, which overshadows the tendency among global shoppers is the desire for differentiation – 17% of Indian shoppers highlighted this compared to only 11% of global shoppers. Almost double the number of Indians also mentioned the importance of duty free exclusives compared to global shoppers.”

More than eight out of ten (82%) Indian shoppers reported that sales staff interaction impacted positively on the decision to purchase. Source: m1nd-set.

Additionally, the research touches on various traits such as Indian travelling shoppers’ purchasing behaviours, category spending, demographics, footfall and conversion, comparing these areas to global metrics.

How and where Indian travelling consumers seek their shopping information and drivers to purchase are also outlined.

In the coming five to six years, India will represent the fourth largest travel spender globally, adds the research, set against a rising middle class expected to constitute almost half of the continent’s population by 2030.

Outbound international traffic is restoring among Indian travellers, having already surpassed the 2019 level in 2023 by more than two million passengers.

That’s according to data from m1nd-set’s Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S) in partnership with IATA.

The leading destination markets by country for Indian arrivals passengers in 2024 will be the UAE (9m), Singapore (7m) and the UK (5m), followed by Thailand (4m), Saudi Arabia (4m) and the US (3m). Kuwait, Australia and Malaysia are expected to receive similar numbers (2m) of Indian passengers, followed by Qatar (1m).

There were nearly 69 million trips made by Indian passengers last year, versus 66.5 million in 2019.

This year, international traffic from India is expected to surpass 75 million passengers.

International passenger volumes among Indian travellers are at 130% of pre-Covid levels and expect to rocket 171% within the next two years, says m1nd-set.

“As the Indian middle class takes to the skies in larger numbers and with increased purchasing power over the coming years, they will represent a significant opportunity for brands and retailers,” concluded Mohn.

“Tourism markets, in Asia Pacific in particular, are realising the potential that India’s outbound travel market will represent and are adapting their visa policies accordingly. The research demonstrates all the major destination markets, where Indians are and will be flocking to; retailers with operations in these markets will reap the rewards, particularly if they have a deep understanding of Indian shopper behaviour.”

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