Pi Insight highlights ‘clear opportunity’ to influence confectionery consumers

By Trb Editor |

Pi Insight

Left: A snapshot of leading confectionery purchase drivers, as highlighted by the Pi Insights research. Right: Stephen Hillam, Managing Director, Pi Insight.

Contrary to higher incidences of pre-planned purchasing reported across duty free in recent times, just over one third (35%) of travelling shoppers map out their confectionery purchases before hitting the shops, according to recent research by Pi Insight.

The statistic, revealed in the UK based research specialist’s Global Duty Free Confectionery Shopper study*, suggests that the category continues to be ‘heavily impulse led’ with a little over one fifth (22%) of planned confectionery buyers knowing the item they wish to buy and a similar number (23%) identifying the exact brand.

“This illustrates a shopper who is significantly open to influence when in the duty free environment and therefore [there is] a clear opportunity to shape their decision making when deciding which item to buy,” said Stephen Hillam, Managing Director, Pi Insight.

“In addition, two thirds of global confectionery buyers purchase on impulse, which highlights the role the confectionery category can play in driving incremental duty free basket spend.”

Once the decision to purchase has been made, travelling shoppers appear to be swayed by the quality of the confectionery offer (35% versus 38% in 2019), well-known brands (21% vs. 27% in 2019) and the opportunity to self-indulge (22% vs. 21% in 2019).

Confectionery adjacencies at Oslo Gardermoen Airport arrivals

Confectionery adjacencies at Oslo Gardermoen Airport arrivals. Source: Catchlight Fotostudio AS/Avinor.

While two of those three leading drivers have declined in importance, confectionery remains fortunate that its conversion drivers have remained relatively consistent in recent times.

In turn, the data shows rising appeal for elements such as packaging design (16% vs 11% in 2019), attractive promotions (16% vs 14% in 2019) and convenient pack sizes (17% vs 15% in 2019).

When studying self-purchases, it is interesting to note that more than half of buyers choose a brand outside of their regular choices (51% versus 35% in 2019). This compares with those that are drawn towards usual basket fillers (41% versus 60% in 2019).

Pi Insight's Global Duty Free Confectionery Shopper study.

Globally, the average incidence of non-regular brand purchasing remains high (59%), notably among Middle East (68%) and European (64%) shoppers.

Among the research’s other topline findings, more than two fifths (44%) of total international travellers surveyed visit the duty free shop, of which just over one fifth (22%) browse the confectionery aisles, though less than that (15%) elect to purchase.

Breaking this down, this means that of those total travellers that visit the store (44%) nearly half (49%) on average, navigate to the confectionery category.

Pushing on for three quarters (67%) of shoppers in confectionery go on to purchase, ‘illustrating a category that drives a wide level of appeal across the global shopper base’, noted Pi Insight.

“Chocolate continues to be by far the most purchased confectionery category, followed by sugar and candy.” Stephen Hillam, Managing Director, Pi Insight

Footfall into confectionery duty free and travel retail aisles is being spearheaded by shoppers from the Middle East (62%) and Europe (55%), according to the research.

Of those that go onto make a purchase, Americas (77%) and Middle East (71%) shoppers lead the pack – an increase on the global average (67%), according to the study.

Pi Insight's Global Duty Free Confectionery Shopper study.

Snapshots of the Pi Insights research.

The average spend level for the category on a worldwide basis stands at US$21, once again driven by Americas ($35) and Middle East ($41) nationalities.

These metrics underscore the opportunity to drive premiumisation among those shopper profiles, Pi Insight continues.

“In comparison, European nationalities have significantly lower rates of spend, with this being particularly the case among German and Spanish shoppers,” according to Hillam.“Chocolate continues to be by far the most purchased confectionery category, followed by sugar and candy.”

An edit of this feature first appeared in the TRBusiness January 2023 e-zine

*The Global Duty Free Confectionery Shopper study is part of Pi Insight’s Global Shopper series, which is based on 3,500 quantitative interviews conducted among travellers and duty free shoppers that have travelled internationally between May – November 2022. Of that figure, 2,055 were deep-dive interviews with confectionery buyers aged over 21 years across different demographics, genders, ages, occupations, and travel tendencies. Nationalities sampled included British, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, American, Brazilian, UAE, South Korean, Malaysian, Australian and Indian.

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