The ripple effect: Gulf & India innovation accelerates Pernod Ricard GTR

By Luke Barras-hill |

L-R: Neha Jabbar, Head of Customer Marketing – Gulf & India, and Vipin Palliyath, General Manager Gulf & India.

Vipin Palliyath, GM Gulf & India and Neha Jabbar, Head of Customer Marketing Gulf & India at Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail (PR GTR) spoke to TRBusiness recently about the drink firm’s duty free trading in the Gulf region and India.

In an interview available in the November/December Middle East & Africa special edition, Palliyath confirmed a positive year-to-date performance for the business unit.

“We see passenger traffic has come back to 2019 levels or higher. We have shoppers back in stores compared to 2019. There is a change both within the choices of categories and the number of purchases in the baskets.

“Now, since people have got back into the regular rhythm of travel there is a small change in penetration, but people continue to be buying better and shopping cross-category in duty free.

“If you look at spend per passenger currently, in 2019 costs and product lines were different, so it’s not a like-for-like comparison. What is interesting is people tend to spend better when they’re buying. That we see across the categories in wines & spirits; it’s not about buying more, but buying better.”

Scotch whisky, including blended malts, single malts and the luxury portfolio, continues to occupy a commanding share of spend within the regional PR GTR portfolio.

Chivas and single malts Glenlivet and Royal Salute remain the hero brands

The French wine and spirits group’s travel retail business enjoyed a solid 2023; a 40% hike in full-year sales comes as the London-headquartered division transitions to new leadership under Laurent Pillet following Mohit Lal’s retirement as CEO and Chairman after 23 years with the company.

Chivas XV Festive campaign

Pernod Ricard has been investing in a number of high-profile launches and activations in the travel retail Gulf and India region in recent times, with more planned for the coming months.

Collectibles, giftables and immersive in-store experiences are focuses for the regional business.

Pernod Ricard travel retail sales declined in H1 2024

The Chivas XV Festive campaign, ‘Light up the night’ activation with Dubai Airports.

According to Jabbar, the recently launched Chivas XV Festive campaign, ‘Light up the night’ – crafted to attract Indian subcontinent travelling shoppers celebrating Diwali (12 November) – offers a strong gifting proposition and has been performing strongly with Dubai Duty Free and Delhi Duty Free.

“This occasion celebrates moments of joy and generosity and was brought to life through an omni-channel campaign including airport media and in-store activations across the three Dubai Airport terminals in addition to Mumbai and other airports globally,” she explained.

“The campaign also included a strong consumer engagement piece with an AR experience, triggered from the limited edition gift box, as a way for travellers to share a personal gift for Diwali that lights up the night in more ways than one: a personalised fireworks message and a shareable moment to remember.

“In addition, we also had a photo experience allowing our shoppers to [send wishes to] their loved ones. Our activations in-store are made to create a unique and memorable moment for loved ones to celebrate Diwali together.”

As a limited expression, Royal Salute 25 YO Delhi Edition is available exclusively in travel retail in Delhi Duty Free.

Elsewhere, Pernod Ricard’s Gulf and India business unit recently launched Royal Salute 25 YO Delhi limited edition exclusively for travel retail.

Inspired by the city, the collector’s item is available from Delhi Duty Free.

“ The 25-Year-Old Delhi Edition captures the energy of this colourful city through illustrations of world-famous landmarks and cultural icons representing the rich heritage of the city,” explained Jabbar.

The 25-year-old expression is housed in an attractive flacon adorned with golden detailing and topped with a jewel-like stopper.

“This treasured blend continues Royal Salute’s legacy of distinction for elegantly crafted Scotch whisky,” added Jabbar.

“Continuing with our strong innovation pipeline for Royal Salute in particular we have another very special sku which will be launching before the end of the year. More to follow on this very soon…”

To read the full interview with Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail Gulf & India, click here.

READ MORE: PR GTR triumphant in Cannes with trio of honours at Travel Retail Awards

READ MORE: PR GTR panel unboxes behavioural science’s influence on travel retail


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