Less than half of Gen Z travellers buy duty free, shows m1nd-set research

By Luke Barras-hill |

Generation Z travellers display a degree of apathy when it comes to duty free shopping, according to new research from m1nd-set.

However, insights from the Swiss travel retail research firm suggests clear potential as the segment matures and propensity to travel and spend increases.

Gen-Z (those aged 18-24 years), are less likely to buy in a duty free store – and taper payments when they shop – with average spend at US$73 compared with $123 among all age groups.

Forty-one percent of Gen-Z shoppers purchased in duty free shops versus the global average of 51% among shop visitors across all age demographics.

‘Lack of duty free awareness’

Seventy-five percent of Gen Z shoppers plan what they buy, which m1nd-set says is lower than the roughly 80% average among all age groups.

Interestingly, less than one third of the segment noticed touchpoints relating to the duty free shopping experience prior to travel, against a global average of 47% across all age segments.

At $73, average spend among Gen Z travel shoppers is markedly lower compared with $123 among all age groups, with spending geared more towards convenience items. Click to enlarge.

Less than half of Gen Z travellers engage with sales staff in store compared with an average of around two thirds in other age groups, continues m1nd-set.

Peter Mohn, Owner and CEO, m1nd-set, commented: “The lack of excitement among Gen Zs demonstrates a low level of understanding of the value of the duty free shopping experience; this is understandable given that many will only be travelling as independent adults for the first time.

“However, as the segment increases in size and their purchasing power grows, the industry needs to be ready; although Gen Zs currently represent only 9% of the travelling population, the size of the Gen Z segment as a share of all passengers has more than doubled between the pre- and post-Covid era already.”

Mohn stresses the importance of ensuring a relevant product mix and offer, combined with a targeted marketing strategy to capture the attentions of Gen Z travel shoppers in key locations.

Similar to the focus on millennials and Chinese travellers seen in recent years, M1nd-set says it is imperative for businesses in global travel retail to possess a Gen Z product and marketing strategy to capture ‘the opportunity of a lifetime for the industry’. Click to enlarge.

He added: “The oldest Gen Zs are in their mid-twenties and already travelling and spending; or choosing not to. Consumer marketing campaigns need to be associated with the appropriate personalities and key opinion leaders.

“Marketers in travel retail need to reassess via which media channels they reach out to Gen Zs to ensure they communicate the values and uniqueness of the duty free and travel retail shopping channel with the right tone and in the right place.”

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