Gen Z consumers ‘lack engagement with duty free shops onboard ferries’

By Luke Barras-hill |

More work is needed to trap footfall and conversion among Gen Z and senior shoppers in the Nordics region visiting duty free shops on ferries, reveals intelligence from the Nordic Travel Retail Group (NTRG) Q4 quarterly insights report.

The research, which is produced exclusively by Swiss agency m1nd-set for the association’s members and draws on interviews conducted with more than 3,000 consumers at key ferry routes and major airports, shows footfall rates for Gen Zs and Seniors at 56% and 47%, respectively.

This compares with rates of 78% and 77% for millennials and middle-aged shoppers, respectively.

Millennials demonstrate the highest engagement rates for duty free shopping onboard, with more than 80% of visitors going on to buy, the research continues.

Footfall, conversion and purchase rates are significantly lower across all age segments in airport shops.

Value is paramount to purchase

Across both channels, millennials are more likely to purchase travel retail exclusives.

Onboard ferries, they exhibit the highest tendency to buy products for the first time, while they are attracted heavily to buying products on promotion at airport duty free stores.

Value remains the leading purchase driver across both channels and all age segments, aside seniors, who favour travel retail exclusives and differentiation.

Haakon Dagestad, NTRG Chairperson and Deputy CEO at Travel Retail Norway, added: “The analysis reveals that the Gen Z age segment is not highly engaged with the duty free shopping experience onboard ferries, while at airports, they have a high tendency to visit the shops, although conversion remains a challenge.

Haakon Dagestad, NTRG Chairperson, pictured during a panel discussion at the 2023 TR Consumer Forum in Vienna, Austia.

“Other differences in shopper behaviour among Gen Zs are observed across the two sectors in the region,” he continued.

“Namely the purchase destination. While on ferries we see that Gen Zs tend to purchase mostly for themselves, in airports they tend to purchase more for gifting. Purchase planning is another area where Gen Zs shopper behaviour differs across the two shopping channels; on board ferries, they tend to plan specifically and more so than all other age segments, while in airports they have a greater tendency to plan generally.”

Peter Mohn, CEO and Owner, m1nd-set says determining the reasons why people choose not to buy in duty free shops is among the key takeaways from the shopper insights.

“This allows us to highlight where the key areas for improvement lie within the retail offer and experience,” he explained. “We see for example that in both airport and ferry duty free shops, assortment and price-related aspects are the key purchase barriers across all age groups.

“Interestingly, the sales staff are also quoted by all age segments among the main reasons for not purchasing inside the stores, implying a poor perception of staff engagement.

“This finding merits more detailed analysis on the sales staff engagement and motivation training, as while this is the third most commonly quoted barrier to purchase in the shops on ferries, staff interaction and impact of the interaction scores very well. At least 80% of shoppers across all age segments reported a positive impact of the staff engagement.

“The engagement levels in airport duty free shops is significantly lower across all age groups on the other hand, with the exception of the middle-aged.”

READ MORE: Sustainability ‘major factor’ for Nordic shoppers, NTRG insights find

TR Consumer Forum: Gen Z are ‘not on a mission to shop’ in travel retail and duty free

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