Many retailers are scaling up their online merchandising and fulfilment capacity in view of the gift shopping season but there remains a wariness as to how consumers will behave, says m1nd-set.
A new study conducted by the Swiss travel retail research agency shows that despite the Covid-induced economic uncertainty, gift shopping continues to be a resilient pastime.
It has even accelerated among certain demographics and shopper segments as border closures, travel restrictions and social distancing protocol curtails familial occasions.
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Detailed analysis of gift shopping behaviour across the seasons reveals that September to February is the most common period for the pursuit in travel retail, the research shows.
It suggests that consumers are searching for more meaningful and expensive gifts, although worsening economic conditions in some markets married with the tilt towards online sales is creating ‘unprecedented complications’ in retail sales forecasting, observes m1nd-set.
Gifting shopper behaviours vary across different categories and customer segments, the research continues.
Customers buying products in travel retail for gifting purposes are more likely than those shopping for themselves to plan visits to duty free shops and buy products they have never purchased before.
They are also less likely to compare prices but are more likely to purchase duty free exclusive skus.
Travellers from Asia Pacific, middle-aged shoppers and male customers have a higher inclination to gift purchase.
Peter Mohn, CEO & Owner at m1nd-set said: “The gifting behaviour research clearly underlines the importance of a robust online presence for retailers to capitalise on the Covid-induced shift in shopper behaviour this festive season.
“Online sales for gift purchases will be significantly higher than the same period last year. This is due to consumer concerns about shopping or the inability to go shopping in physical stores due to lockdowns.
“To benefit from this trend, travel retailers will have to ensure they are clearly visible to consumers online as they search for their festive gifts. A robust online presence will be essential for travel retailers to compete on the already crowded e-commerce playing field.
“Travel retail online stores will not be instinctively front-of-mind among consumers, particularly as significantly fewer will actually be travelling internationally currently and towards the end of the year. It is equally important therefore to have a robust digital marketing strategy to ensure visibility on the major search engines.”