TFWA Webinar: Staff interaction rises in importance for confectionery shoppers

By Charlotte Turner |

In a Confectionery Webinar hosted by the TFWA on its 365 platform, panellists discussed the paradigm shifts for the category – pre-Covid to now – and how additional food items could soon be on the menu at travel retail locations worldwide, as the industry looks to leverage consumer demand for local and authentic goods.


Peter Mohn, Founder and CEO of leading travel retail research firm, m1nd-set, set the scene this morning, discussing changes to customer behaviour as we emerge from the pandemic and enter a period of economic uncertainty.


Presenting research and data, following surveys conducted amongst 30,000 people over the last two years, Mohn explained that sales staff interaction has really grown (compared with the period between 2017-2020), as well as their influence on customers to make a purchase.


“To be honest, that’s what surprised me the most,” said Mohn during this morning’s webinar. “People are really interested in talking to others and interacting on the shop floor…They want to see the local brand experts too. Investing in sales staff will have a high impact going forward.”


While confectionery typically attracts high footfall and conversion rates, like many duty free core categories, conversion did drop as a consequence of the pandemic.


Interestingly, Mohn revealed that the No 1 reason for purchasing in duty free amongst those surveyed in Q3 2022, was that they could only buy the product in duty free or that it was a limited edition.


He also said that while consumers’ interest in gifting confectionery had reduced, the rise in purchases for own consumption and sharing was significant.


Sadly, 47% of respondents said a lack of time in the shops presented a big barrier to purchase, as well as long queues (37%). Again, this data corresponded with Q3 2022.


“Covid-19 has affected performance of confectionery in travel retail, mainly due to the fact that overall impulse purchases had decreased during Covid as shoppers were less willing to browse,” summarised Mohn.


“Despite that, key indicators such as the confectionery purchase rate and amount spent have remained stable over the years. Footfall increased slightly in 2022 whiles conversion decreased.”


As has been discussed at previous conferences – such as TR Sustainability Week in April this year – sustainability continues to grow in importance to consumers of confectionery, as well as most other categories in global travel retail.


Moving on to the potential of the broader food category, Mohn highlighted that confectionery currently represents 77% of the packaged food items on sale in travel retail, while this segment takes up just 7% in domestic markets.


“Local food presents one of the best ways to create a sense of place,” added Mohn. “Food overall will gain importance in travel retail.”


Mohn’s fellow panellists – Beatriz de Otto Méndez Head of Customer Marketing World Travel Retail, Mondelēz International, Alexandra Bevernage, Travel Retail and Business Development Director, Neuhaus and Fabrizio Canal, Founder and CEO of Italian fine food specialist Food Accademia – offered insights into new trends in snacking, premium confectionery and other sectors as well as their perspectives on price points and product assortments. More to follow on this webinar shortly…


The Confectionery in Travel Retail webinars will be moderated by TFWA Conference Manager Michele Miranda and DFNI- Frontier Editor Kapila Ireland. 

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