Appeal for ‘exclusives’ up but shopping barriers remain, shows DFWC monitor

By Luke Barras-hill |

Travelling shoppers are increasingly on the hunt for special editions and duty free exclusives, according to the latest Q3 global shopping monitor from the Duty Free World Council (DFWC).

Commissioned research* courtesy of m1nd-set reveals a rise in purchase demand for these type of products over a three-year period to 15% in Q3 2022 – up from 12% in Q3 2019.

On the other hand, the Swiss-based research agency notes that shopping barriers have ‘consistently increased’ in the last three years.

Value for money and price advantage, the top two purchase drivers, have declined to 18% and 17%, respectively, in Q3 2022 (see below).

In Q3 2019, the share of shoppers favouring products with good value for money stood at 32%, with price advantage at 30%.

‘Significant increase’ in pre-planning

Convenience as a purchase driver attracted 26% of shoppers in Q3 2019, but fell to 16% during the same period this year.

Meanwhile, 15% of shoppers cited having enough dwell time to choose products and brand loyalty as purchase drivers in Q3 this year, down from 20% and 18% of shoppers for the respective purchase drivers in 2019.

Long queues, insufficient time, uncertainty over customs regulations and higher prices versus other airports all rose in importance as reasons for shoppers not purchasing at the airport.

Among the other key takeaways, the share of global shoppers with a clear idea of  what they intend to purchase has markedly increased from pre- to post-Covid.

According to the research, 35% planned to purchase either a specific product or brand this year versus only 22% in Q3 2019.

On the other hand, undecided planning has dwindled over the three years – from 55% in Q3 2019 to 44% in Q3 2022.

The percentage of shoppers purchasing on impulse has decreased marginally from 23% in 2019 to 21% in 2022.

Sarah Branquinho, DFWC President, said: “We are delighted to see the return of the DFWC shopping monitor in partnership with m1nd-set. Shopping behaviour today is quite significantly different from pre-pandemic times and the research highlights the importance of frontline customer-facing staff.

“The monitor shows how the percentage of shoppers engaging with sales staff has increased from 49% to 71% over the past three years. This demonstrates the importance of staff training, which is why the Duty Free World Council has invested in the DFWC academy.

“The success rate of staff interactions has also increased significantly, up from 51% in 2019 to 78% this year. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of training programmes, like those offered by the DFWC academy to ensure staff have all the necessary tools at their disposal to engage successfully with shoppers and potential shoppers in the travel retail environment.”

In addition to shopper insights, the monitor provides a global and regional air traffic overview, based on data from IATA, which reveals global as well as regional traffic, the top ten airports and the top ten travelling nationalities.

While global recovery was at 70% of the 2019 levels over the 2022 summer months, according to the monitor, recovery across almost all regions surpassed the 80% level.

Only Asia Pacific shows a below average recovery rate with just over 30% of the 2019 traffic levels in the summer of 2022, according to the DFWC monitor.

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