Forum: Health, wellness and pet care identified as emerging categories

By Kristiane Sherry |

Emerging categories will offer big potential in GTR, a panel has said. Photo: Grant Pritchard. 

There are enormous opportunities for emerging categories in global travel retail, with health, wellness and pet care all highlighted as potential areas of interest, a TR Consumer Forum panel has said.

Speaking in Vienna last month, the group of experts agreed that there was much to gain from tracking emerging categories, but that it was a “challenge” to minimise time to market.

The panel of speakers spanned Lewis Allen, Senior Director at Portland; Christophe Fabre, Export Director at Laboratoire Puressentiel; Bruno Gouisset, Executive Vice President Merchant Core Business at Lagardère Travel Retail; Clara Susset, Chief Operating Officer at m1nd-set; and Nicola Wells, Head of Category Development at Nestlé International Travel Retail.

Susset opened with a review of category performances across the channel, noting that “confectionery is the most purchased category globally”, alongside perfumes.

She added that the purchase rate had remained stable across all categories.

Following her presentation, Lagardère Travel Retail’s Gouisset urged delegates to “identify your trends now, not when it’s too late”. 

He uses the local market to analyse developing trends, he continued, with another challenge being to innovate quickly enough. He said it can often take 18 months for a new product, developed with a trend in mind, to make it into GTR.

“It’s time for us to be more precise, wiser and optimised,” he concluded, calling for greater agility to respond to emerging trends.

GTR efficiency

Allen then led a discussion on ‘efficiency’. Who is efficient in travel retail? What does efficiency mean for a passenger? What about landlords, retailers, and brands?

“What we do is designed to combat the historical lack of focus on the efficiency of our space,” he explained.

In terms of newness, he continued, “I think this idea of experimentation is important to our industry going forward. The ability to try new things or to, dare I say, risk new things, because we have been traditionally very risk averse.” 

Allen compelled delegates to consider efficiency in their work. Photo: Grant Pritchard.

Allen then discussed the hybridisation of spaces, where work, F&B and retail could combine. He also advocated making a “digital twin” of your retail space for customers to interact with.

Nestlé’s Wells then shared how, in her view, food in the airport space has “greater” potential than it ever has in the past.

She shared that she was working on a concept with Allen called “Food Reimagined”, which intends to be experiential. “We’ve talked a lot about what you can do by putting food together, what type and how do we do that and what could it look like,” she said.

Food is very emotional,” she continued. “We are going to use it as a tool to drive footfall and conversion.”

She also disclosed more details about the Solgar wellness range, which is making its debut in GTR via Dufry.

“We looked at the domestic market to see what we are not doing,” she explained. She also cited additional research which explored what’s important to the traveller. As such, Solgar’s range is merchandised by concern, be it sleep, immunity or energy.

“So far it’s been going really well,” she stated, adding that the trail was an opportunity to test and learn.

Travel retail-specific concerns

Fabre from Puressentiel spoke about over-the-counter (OTC) opportunities for brands in the wellness space. 

Learning from domestic markets and through research analysing concerns in GTR, he settled on sleep, stress and cough and cold as key sub-categories of potential.

“Today when you enter the airport, there is no solution to that,” he stated. 

Wells advocated for wellness and pet care. Photo: Grant Pritchard.

Although he felt the new generation of travellers held values that align well with the potential of OTC products, he stressed that brands still needed to work hard.

“You cannot just bring a product like [this],” he cautioned, of the wellness space. “You need to tell them the story or you need to tell them the roots of the product.”

Casting the next even wider still, Wells identified pet care as a potential new category to consider.

“People want to bring back presents for their dog as much as their children,” she stated.

Other closing remarks included a need to focus on meaningful sustainability in consumer communications, to keep a brand’s purpose in mind.

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