An impressive 91% of respondents to TRBusiness’ Q1 2023 Travel Retail (TR) Confidence Tracker are feeling optimistic about the global travel retail industry and their organisation’s performance in the channel over the next 12 months.
Delving into the results shows that a significant 61% are “quite optimistic” and 30% are “very optimistic” about the global travel retail industry over the next 12 months.
Furthermore, 56% revealed they are “quite optimistic” while 35% are “very optimistic” about their organisation’s performance in travel retail over the next 12 months.
Those holding a neutral view accounted for a 9% share of votes for both questions, being “neither optimistic or pessimistic”.
In a small but notable shift in sentiment, the flash poll, which was live for two weeks at the end of March 2023, demonstrates the absence of any pessimistic feelings among respondents, compared to the minimal portion (2%) of those polled in February 2023 who indicated they were “quite pessimistic” (with regards to both of the indicator questions).
Despite ongoing pressures on consumer spending power, respondents indicated that the desire to travel is strong.
“Covid is over and people are eager to travel again,” said Christian Rührschneck, Sales Director, Fraas. “Despite inflation rates being high, most consumers are ready to spend on holiday trips. Additionally, business trips are increasing again.”
“Research is showing that spending on travel will be less affected than budgeting people will make on more day-to-day expenses,” added Tim Jobber, Owner, JES Travel Retail.
While the flash poll paints a positive picture, people power is continuing to have an impact, according to some stakeholders.
“Supply chain issues and employee retention continue to hold us back from really capitalising on the passenger surge,” said Chris Berthelson, Retail Business Consultant, Wise Precision Business Consulting
As can be seen from the charts above and below, pessimistic feelings were absent among those polled at the end of March (for Q1 2023), compared to those polled in February.
There has been a slight increase in the share of respondents feeling “quite optimistic” about the GTR industry over the next 12 months, rising from 49% in February to 61% for Q1 2023.
A total of 85% of respondents said they were optimistic (either “very optimistic” or “quite optimistic”) in response to this question in February, compared to the total of 91% for Q1 2023.
A similar pattern is seen when comparing the results of the second indicator question, as illustrated below.
For the Q1 2023 flash poll, TRBusiness also asked respondents, who could choose to take part anonymously or on the record, to comment on a top talking point as follows.
What has provided the biggest boost for your company in DF&TR during Q1 2023 and how is this helping to propel you toward your year-end goals?
Here’s a selection of the comments submitted for publishing….
“The strength of the cruise industry has been a great boost to Q1 business and towards the end of the quarter, we have seen a resurgence of business in the Asian markets.” – Rob Robertaccio, SVP, Global & Travel Retail Sales, E. Gluck Corp
“Due to the global situation and high inflation rates in the global markets, we had our doubts about Q1 2023 and [if] would we see a turn into a more negative recovery curve. As we have seen the continuation of extremely good recovery performance on all markets, [it] has given us great confidence for the latter part of the year. We at Fazer are very optimistic and we are looking forward to finish the year strong.” – Kari Kuikka, Travel Retail Director, Fazer Confectionery Ltd
“Hong Kong reopening and removing quarantine restrictions.” – Harry Kartasis, Managing Director, Global Drinks Ltd
“Fashion accessories are suitable to both tourists and business travellers. That makes it ‘easier’ for our category in general. With our retail partners, we are currently opening a couple of new POS at European airports. Also our duty free business in China is doing fine.”– Christian Rührschneck, Sales Director, Fraas
“Many new listings with key operators for Douglas Laing and increasing demand in our GTR Remarkable Regional Malts range” – Hannes Koch, Owner & MD, Travel Retail Cooperation
“We had very good repeat orders and also noticed a strong sell-out at point of sales. This makes us confident for the rest of the year.” – Andreas Reckart, Head of Travel Retail, Ricola AG
“It is all about the passengers. They continue to come out stronger and stronger every day. The fact some retailers and concessions did not make the necessary adjustments to operate efficiently is disappointing. Passengers have said since beginning to come back they expect fast and friendly service, clean and neat stores, and new experiences. If you failed to listen you may be on the outside looking in very soon.” – Chris Berthelson, Retail Business Consultant, Wise Precision Business Consulting
Please note that the next TR Confidence Tracker flash poll will be live at the end of June with the results published shortly thereafter.
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