Health & wellbeing trend a new trajectory in travel retail’s recovery climb

By Luke Barras-hill |

Beauty advisors at ARI’s shops offer beauty demonstrations on their own skin while offering verbal advice to customers.

The magnetic pull of the beauty, health and wellbeing sector has ignited consumer sentiment throughout the pandemic. That demand is visceral and expected to be long-lasting, as TRBusiness reports.

As distribution, retailing, sampling and consumer trends adapt, so too must the category and the next steps will be crucial for growth.

While in the throes of suspended travel, global travel retail has had to develop and adapt the way it conducts business.

“The pandemic has certainly changed the beauty habits of many of our customers,” commented Deirdre Devaney, Global Head of Beauty at Aer Rianta International (ARI).

“As we see the vaccination rollout progress across the globe, we will no doubt see people returning to using services and self-care will evolve.”

Rosie Cook, Associate Director, Global Travel Retail & Export, Molton Brown.


Karina Lassen, Owner at Brand-Mover that works with companies including ECooking, said: “We are now trying, in the early start-up phase, to understand what the demand is so we can support our travel retail operators in the best possible way.

“We are offering extra campaigns, more visibility and trying smaller sizes to get ‘grab-and-go consumption’ in the beauty world,” she continued.

Amid the noise, there has been a new dawn for treatment-based services.

ARI has been working with partners to roll out more minis and sample sizes of best-selling products, as well as providing information instore both through beauty advisors and digital on-counter technology.

“We ask that customers request testers from team members where beauty advisors can use blotters or samples on their own skin while verbally sharing product details with customers,” said Devaney.

In the wake of such change, suppliers have altered their travel retail approaches to reflect shopper habits and shifting consumer trends.

“Hygiene and safety measures are now an everyday part of business, especially for luxury brands,” commented Rosie Cook, Associate Director, Global Travel Retail & Export, Molton Brown.

Miami-based Essence Corp is the travel retail distributor for Bath & Body Works.

“But they must be delivered in an unobtrusive way, so that shoppers feel comfortable and looked after when shopping.”

For Bath & Body Works (BBW), sales grew 41% last year due to its predominant footprint in the US, according to Antoine Bona, VP Sales, Essence Corp.

Deirdre Devaney, Global Head of Beauty, Aer Rianta International.


However, the company still recognises an increased need for hygiene-related items as well as simple anxiety-reducing products.

“Sales for sanitisers sky-rocketed during the pandemic and other categories such as decorative soaps and candles were also within the purchasing trend last year,” revealed Bona, who mentions BBW’s strong e-commerce platform in the US.

Pandemic anxiety and the acceleration of the health and wellness trend has gone hand-in-hand, with the issue of ‘trust’ raised as consumers strive for more conscientious living.

“With this renewed interest in wellness, we are seeing traction on products that have transparent labelling of ingredients,” explains Devaney.

Travel retail has, historically, reflected that perfect symbiosis between luxury goods and the feel-good factor.

In truth, it should understand the new breed of consumer behaviour more than any other market. But work remains…

To read more, see the TRBusiness July/August e-zine by clicking here.

Words: Jessica Mason.


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