Alcohol insights: Conversion up, spend down in Q4

By Faye Bartle |

Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development, m1nd-set.

Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development, m1nd-set, at the 2023 TR Consumer Forum.

Conversion of visitors in the alcohol category in duty free has risen to 54% in Q4 2023, following a post pandemic dip to 38% (in 2021 and 2022), however, the average amount spent has fallen to $78 compared to $88 before Covid hit, according to the latest category insights by m1nd-set.

The data also shows that alcohol footfall increased during the first two years following the pandemic, before declining back toward pre-Covid levels (2017-Q1 2020) in Q4 2023.

“Duty free alcohol buyers in Q4 2023 are mainly middle-aged males, travelling for leisure in standard class,” said Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development, m1nd-set.

“However, compared to pre-Covid times, alcohol buyers are more likely to be females, younger on average and leisure travellers,” she noted.

Zooming in on the statistics show that men comprise a 63% share of alcohol buyers in Q4 2023 – just below the 67% recorded pre-Covid.


Women comprise a 37% share – a rise from 33% before the pandemic and significantly higher than the 28% in 2021.


“The share of females purchasing alcohol in duty free stores globally has reached its highest peak over the last years, representing around four in 10 shoppers,” confirmed Marchesini.

Looking more closely at the demographic data also shows that the share of millennials (18% in 2017-Q1 2020 vs. 23% in Q4 2023) and middle aged (46% to 52%) buyers has steadily risen consistently since the pandemic, while seniors have been in decline.

Indeed, the average age of duty free alcohol buyers is now 42, compared to 47 before the pandemic.


“Premium pax among alcohol shoppers is three points lower vs. pre-covid (23% vs 26%) and represents a minority,” added Marchesini.

More trends to note include that alcohol self-purchases peaked in 2022 (at 50%), reverted back to lower than pre-Covid levels in Q4 2023 (at 41%).

In addition, in the final quarter of 2023, purchases on request continued increasing (rising from 6% in 2023 to 10%).

Gifting remains lower but closer to pre-pandemic levels,, while sharing remains higher.


Looking at the main drivers of alcohol purchases in duty free in Q4 2023, value for money is the number one driver across all regions.

“Buyers in MEA and ASPAC are citing convenience as well,” commented Marchesini. “In Americas, shoppers tend to mention brand loyalty while those in Europe [like to] indulge themselves.”

In 2023, the share of impulse purchases decreased; undecided planning remains lower vs pre-Covid levels, and specific planning remains higher than before.

Americas DF alcohol shoppers in focus

With the IAADFS Summit of the Americas on the horizon (14-17 April), we asked Marchesini to share some of the most notable insights into shoppers in this region.


“The profile of alcohol duty free shoppers in the Americas differs from global average with a higher share of males (72%), and over index of passengers flying in premium cabin class (27%),” she revealed.

“Interestingly, alcohol duty free shoppers in the Americas are more likely than any other category shopper worldwide to purchase driven by brand loyalty (24% vs 17%).

“Yet, value-for-money remains the number one driver to purchase alcohol across all the regions (28%).

“Indeed, share of duty fee alcohol products purchased on promotion scores over index in the region compared to global average (65% vs 61%).

“Overall, decision-making among Americas alcohol shoppers is a combination of several elements that include not only brand (24%) and value (value for money 25% and price advantage 17%), but also convenience (18%), suitability of the offer for a specific mission (e.g. souvenirs 13%, self-treat 12% or gifting 10%) and differentiation 13%.”


Another distinctive factor characterising alcohol shoppers in the region is their higher likelihood to interact and seek advice from the sales staff.

“The latter is also likely to influence the majority of shoppers on their final decision to purchase, yet remaining in line with global average,” said Marchesini.

“There is therefore an opportunity to further increase proactivity, knowledge and expertise of staff to further enhance their influence on decision-making and drive more purchases.

“This is particularly important considering that the majority of Alcohol Duty Free shoppers in the Americas make their final purchase decision inside the store (71%), either having already some ideas in mind (undecided shoppers – 51%) or completely on impulse (20%).”

READ MORE: Men buy and spend more in travel retail says new research by m1nd-set

READ MORE: TR Consumer Forum 2024: Ticket sales now open

READ MORE: Asia Pacific Travel Retail Awards: The Winners

Middle East

JEDCO launches multi-category tenders at KAIA T1

Jeddah Airports Company (JEDCO KSA) has issued a request for proposals for several...


TR Consumer Forum 2024: Ticket sales now open

TRBusiness is thrilled to announce that you can now book your tickets to the TR Consumer Forum...


Alcohol insights: Conversion up, spend down in Q4

Conversion of visitors in the alcohol category in duty free has risen to 54% in Q4 2023,...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend