M1nd-set tracks India’s traffic recovery and shares key shopping influences

By Charlotte Turner |

Delhi's meet and greet service introduced last year.

Delhi Airport introduced a meet-and-greet service introduced last year.

Indian outbound travel and tourism is showing healthy recovery, according to the latest research by leading travel retail research agency m1nd-set, evidence of which was particularly strong around the Hindu Diwali festival.


According to m1nd-set, the intention to travel internationally – particularly around the religious festival – was considerably stronger in 2022, not only in comparison to the last two years, but even 2019.


M1nd-set reports that online searches for international flights were around 40% higher than the same Diwali period in 2019, before the pandemic. Hotel bookings increased by around 55% over the festive period compared to 2021 and more than 12% higher than the 2019 level.


The report also reveals how Indian shoppers can be influenced to purchase from duty free and travel retail stores when travelling.


The research provides an in-depth overview of current and future travel trends, shopper behaviour in global travel retail, and recommendations on where the focus should lie in the future for converting travellers to browsers, and browsers to shoppers.


The forecast for the full-year traffic figures in India for 2022 is positive for both domestic and international travel.


Domestic air traffic is expected to be around 60% higher than the 2021 level, while for international traffic, the figure is double that, at around 120% higher.


‘India to become world’s third-largest aviation market’

Looking ahead, air traffic and travel and tourism will see healthy growth in India over the next few years. The travel market over the next few years is set to see growth of just below 10% between 2022 and 2026. The research also reveals that India’s air traffic is set to grow by 7% annually over the next two decades. This is higher than neighbouring countries across Southeast Asia and China where growth will be below 6% and according to m1nd-set, India is predicted to become the world’s third-largest aviation market, behind China and the US in the next few years.


Indian travellers are increasingly seeking greater value from their travel experiences, according to m1nd-set, a trend which the Swiss research agency says is stimulating growth in India’s luxury travel sector.


There is a marked spike in interest among Indian travellers for health and wellness travel, unconventional experiences and adventure travel, nature tours and other innovative travel experiences.


There are considerable opportunities for brands launching new products in the travel retail market with Indian consumers, according to m1nd-set. Peter Mohn, CEO and Owner at m1nd-set, commented: “More than nine out of ten Indian shoppers said they wanted to try a new brand during the recent festive period, whether shopping at home or while travelling. This is similar to the tendency among Indian shoppers in travel retail.


“Around eight out of ten Indian shoppers say they purchased a product from the duty free shops that they had never purchased before, which is well above the global average.”


Products on promotion and TR exclusives

Mohn went on to explain the Indian’s above-average tendency to purchase products on promotion and travel retail exclusives.


Peter Mohn, CEO & Owner at m1nd-set at TR Consumer Forum 2021.

Peter Mohn, CEO & Owner at m1nd-set.

“Three out of four Indian shoppers say they purchased a product on promotion from the duty free shop compared to less than seven out of ten global shoppers. 86% of Indian shoppers say they purchased a travel retail exclusive product, which is again well above the tendency among global travellers.”


The Indian traveller research also highlights the most purchased categories and sub-categories by Indians when travelling. Food, Perfumes and Alcohol are the leading product categories, according to the m1nd-set research.


Food is purchased by 35% of Indian shoppers, Perfumes by 32% and Alcohol by 22% of Indian shoppers. Other aspects of the shopper behaviour by Indians in travel retail, which the research provides detailed data on, include the tendency to plan or purchase on impulse in duty free and travel retail, the destination of purchase, whether for self-indulgence, sharing, gifting or on request, and the main reasons for shopping in duty free.


The research details the key purchase drivers and highlights the difference to the global shopping behavioural tendencies, as with all aspects covered throughout the research.


There are certain areas which travel retail stakeholders can focus on to increase footfall and improve conversion among Indian travellers in the travel retail environment, said Mohn.


These include staff engagement, social media influencers and VR and AR technology. “To focus on just one of these three key areas that can impact footfall and conversion among Indian travellers we identify in the research,” he said.


“Indian shoppers have a greater tendency than global travellers on average to interact with staff. The impact of their interaction is also higher than the global average. Training that is specific to the Indian consumer is therefore paramount, particularly on the cultural keys among Indian consumers, to ensure staff understand and respect these cultural nuances when engaging with Indian customers in store.”


More information on m1nd-set’s research and consultancy services can be obtained from m1nd-set by writing to [email protected].

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