Price points and the lack of appealing promotions are among the main reasons stopping travellers from shopping in duty free and travel retail stores when travelling internationally, according to the latest research by m1nd-set.
The barriers to purchase were strongly related to value perception, according to the study by the Swiss-based agency, which focuses on non-visitors (those who do not enter the store) and non-shoppers (those who have entered the store but leave without purchasing) in travel retail in 2022.
For non-shoppers, being presented with higher prices, compared to what consumers can take advantage of when at home, was cited as the main reason preventing them from making a purchase (cited by 20% of those surveyed).
This was followed by a lack of promotions (16%) and ‘higher prices than [at the] destination [they are heading to]’ (16%) and ‘higher prices than at other airports’ (16%).
The results paint a slightly different picture to similar research conducted in 2019, before the pandemic, when ‘no promotion’ (38%) was cited as the lead factor, followed by ‘higher prices than [at] home’ (30%) and there being ‘nothing appealing’ (24%), in the opinion of those surveyed.
In the 2022 research, uncertainty around custom regulations and not wanting to carry more items were other reasons highlighted by the research for locking out potential shoppers.
Both of these factors were cited by 14% of store visitors.
“Given the emphasis that consumers place on the price points and promotions, it is all the more important for brands and retailers to create the need and desire among consumers to shop, well in advance of their arrival at the airport or cruise ship,” said Peter Mohn, Owner and CEO of m1nd-set.
“Communicating the unique offers available at the airport or cruise ship, or other travel retail location, is essential so consumers are more likely to look beyond the price aspects, lured by the unique experience or opportunity.”
“We know from the research that travel retail exclusives, special promotions, products that are linked to a specific destination for souvenirs or gifting, experiences such as tastings and trials as well as the traditional gift with purchase, only available at the travel retail location generally tend to have a positive impact on influencing the purchase decision in travel retail.
“From focus group research, we have conducted, we see that consumers often look beyond the price aspect, with these unique or authentic opportunities.”
Inside the minds of non-visitors
The research (which was conducted among thousands of international travellers recruited directly at airports in all world regions) also analyses non-visitor behaviour, highlighting the reasons among all travellers for not entering the store.
A preference to shop online and higher prices, both at home and at destination, were once more among the top reasons for not visiting the shops.
Add to this the desire ‘to do other things while at the airport’, which was quoted by around one fifth of the travellers interviewed.
Health and safety were also cited among the main reasons for not visiting the stores.
More than 30% of travellers said they preferred to avoid visiting the stores while 27% stated they felt the shops were unsafe, according to the m1nd-set research.
The ‘lack of sufficient sanitary measures and social distancing measures’ were reasons given by travellers for steering clear of the shops during their international trips in 2022.
An anatomy of non-shoppers and non-visitors in travel retail
The m1nd-set research also looks at the specific profiles of non-visitors and non-shoppers in travel retail.
The non-visitors tend to be middle-aged males flying economy class.
Over half (51%) of the non-visitors are middle-aged, while millennials represent the second largest age-group, comprising 37% of the segment.
Gen Zs and seniors both represent 6% of non-visitors.
The research also shows that non-visitors are more likely to be males (65%) than females (35%).
Just under two-thirds (59%) of non-visitors fly economy class. Premium economy travellers represent 19% of non-visitors, while business class travellers comprise 16% and first class travellers represent 6%.
There is also a higher proportion of leisure travellers, with around seven out of 10 non-visitors travelling for fun.
Concerning non-shoppers, the middle-aged segment represents the largest age-group, at 51%, followed by millennials (22%), seniors (16%) and Gen Zs (11%).
In terms of travel class, economy travellers make up the largest traveller-type segment of the non-shoppers at (70%), followed by premium economy and business travellers (each accounting for 13%) and first class travellers (4%).
As with the non-visitors, there is a higher share of male than female travellers among non-shoppers, with more than two thirds (68%) being male.
Just over a quarter of non-shoppers are business travellers and approximately three quarters are leisure travellers.
“There is a wealth of data on specific segments by region also, which the m1nd-set data tool, the Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S) enables us to dissect and analyse, providing even greater depth and detail,” said Mohn.
“This enables us subscribers to access location specific insights on why travellers don’t visit and why browsers don’t buy in travel retail, and who they are.
“This is probably one of the most popular applications in the tool.”