89% of respondents ‘optimistic’ about their TR business, shows flash poll

By Faye Bartle |

TR Confidence Tracker Feb 2023 resultsThe vast majority of duty free and travel retail stakeholders who responded to the inaugural TRBusiness Travel Retail Confidence Tracker are feeling optimistic about the global travel retail industry and their organisation’s performance in the channel over the next 12 months.

An impressive 85% of respondents to the flash poll, which was live for two weeks in February, say they are “very optimistic” (36%) or “quite optimistic” (49%) about the global travel retail industry over the next 12 months.

As Chris Berthelson, Retail Business Consultant of Wise Precision Business Consulting commented: “Travellers are ready to go. They are tired of being shut in.”

“Passenger numbers increased for most airlines and airports in 2022 compared to 2021 and this is great news for our industry,” added Sagar Maniar, Sales Manager – Global Travel Retail, BMB Group. “Although, we still have some work to do before we can reach 2019 figures, all the indicators for a strong recovery in 2023 are very positive.”

The grand return to travel was a common thread in the comments submitted.

“2022 saw a terrific recovery as the pent up demand to travel superseded most expectations,” said Hoj Parmar, CEO, Bitmore Limited. “From many conversations with industry players, expectations for 2023 are even more positive, especially as China is open for business now too.”

“The channel has opened up and there are a lot of exciting opportunities for myself and my brand partners coming up,” offered Hannes Koch, Founder and Owner, Travel Retail Cooperation.

TR Confidence Tracker Feb 2023 results

The TRBusiness Travel Retail Confidence Tracker also shows that 89% of respondents report being “very optimistic” (38%) or “quite optimistic” (51%) about their organisation’s performance in travel retail over the next 12 months.

“Covid taught us to never assume anything, but all of the indictors are extremely positive for a great year for the industry,” said Parmar.

The sentiment is creating an ideal backdrop for ambitious growth targets.

“Our organisation has high expectations from travel retail in 2023,” said Maniar. “We are very optimistic about our performance and to deliver on our expected growth, we have already confirmed our participation in the TFWA Singapore and Cannes exhibitions in May 2023 and October 2023 respectively.

“We are looking forward to meeting potential new customers, opening new accounts for our products and building upon our existing business by adding new products and categories. We have forecasted a double digit growth and we are very confident about achieving this.”

“Analytics for share optimisation and performance KOIs have never been more relevant,” added Jeff Elderton, Executive Strategy and Revenue Consultant, TELUS Consumer Goods. “Travel retail is a massive important channel and needs to be assessed and measured like other conventional channels.”

TR Confidence Tracker Feb 2023 results

Just 13% and 9% of respondents respectively (to the two key indicator questions) hold a neutral view of being “neither optimistic or pessimistic”.

A minimal portion (2%) of respondents are “quite pessimistic” (the same share of votes that emerged for both questions).

“Industry stakeholders are evidently feeling buoyed by the business opportunities in the channel in 2023 and beyond, despite macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges, among other factors,” said Faye Bartle, Managing Editor, Digital & Marketing, TRBusiness.

“It is reassuring to see such a considerable return to confidence for what promises to be a very dynamic year ahead.”

For the launch survey, TRBusiness also asked respondents, who could choose to take part anonymously or on the record, to comment on a top talking point as follows:

How do you expect the resumption of outbound travel from China to impact on your business this year?

Here’s a selection of the views that were shared for publishing…

“Currently we have limited exposure in this region, however it will be very positive for the industry overall, it will be interesting to see if the buying behaviour has developed post covid.” – Zoe Farmer, Global Director Retail Managment, gateretail

“I expect the passenger numbers to go up a lot, especially in summer 2023, and gifting confectionery and drinks to be a major driver of growth.” – Anita Visvanath, Senior Category Manager, Retail inMotion

“I expect this to have an incredibly positive impact on overall business. This is what everyone has been waiting for, so that the full recovery can finally begin” – Rob Robertaccio, Vice President Global & Travel Retail Sales, E. Gluck Corp

“I was actually very pleased to see a China Air Crew last week in an airport hotel in Frankfurt and it will be helping the channel to achieve pre-covid levels faster… Still the readiness to travel outside Asia needs to be seen.” – Hannes Koch, Founder and Owner, Travel Retail Cooperation

“We see a positive effect on GTR whilst remaining cautious about the wider affect on visited countries.” – Tim Jobber, Owner, JES Travel Retail / JES recruitmenTR

“It is a game changer in terms of passenger flow into some of the top US airports.” – Chris Berthelson, Retail Business Consultant of Wise Precision Business Consulting

“Chinese travellers have had a very important contribution to Dubai Duty Free’s growth over the past few years. The resumption of outbound travel from China will greatly impact our business growth in Dubai Duty Free and also other transit hubs such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi as they are one of the biggest spending nationalities in travel retail.” – Sagar Maniar, Sales Manager – Global Travel Retail, BMB Group

“I expect Chinese travellers will be back in Europe sooner than expected and there will be more of them than the predictions say.” – Anna Machowska, International Category Manager, Delica

“As we have launched in more airport stores globally over the last 12 months, I would expect the additional footfall and buying power from China around the world, will have a positive impact on our business as well as others.” – Hoj Parmar, CEO, Bitmore Limited

“I’m expecting a positive impact starting from Q2 with more and more outbound travellers passing through Chinese airports and many other international airports on their onward journey.” – Andreas Reckart, Head of Travel Retail, Ricola

“It has an impact on the planning and supply. It is already challenging given the global circumstances and on top to plan now when and where will the Chinese travel to and in which numbers.” – Jan Pasold, Managing Director Global Travel Retail, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co.KG

“The Chinese appetite for travelling is certainly growing, but it will likely remain on a sub 2019 level for a couple of years hampering mid term growth prospects.” – Johan Horstmann, CEO, Horstmann Holding

Please note that following the February launch of the TRBusiness Travel Retail Confidence Tracker, the survey will be live at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December), with the results published shortly thereafter.

If you would like to be notified each time the TRBusiness Travel Retail Confidence Tracker goes live and receive the results direct to your inbox, simply subscribe to our e-newsletters or email [email protected]. Thanks for your support.


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