NTRG and m1nd-set release insights on shopping habits of ferry passengers

By Charlotte Turner |

Norwegian passenger cruise ship MS Polarlys

Norwegian passenger cruise ship MS Polarlys.

According to m1nd-set research, exclusive to members of the Nordic Travel Retail Group (NTRG), half of Nordic ferry shoppers plan their duty free purchases specifically, one third of whom know the exact brand they wish to purchase in advance.


In addition, over one third (36%) of Nordic ferry shoppers plan on a general level, with some idea in mind of what they want to purchase.


NTRG’s latest quarterly report, powered by m1nd-set, is the result of a four-year research partnership between the Swiss research agency and the association. Each quarter, the research focuses on different themes that address shopper behaviour in the travel retail environment.


These include price and value, purchase drivers, barriers to purchase, purchases made on promotion and price comparison, behaviour around travel retail exclusives and the in-store shopping experience.


Peter Mohn, Owner & CEO of m1nd-set.

Peter Mohn, Owner & CEO of m1nd-set.

Regarding the shopping experience specifically, the reports will deliver detail on satisfaction levels, time spent in the shop as well as barriers and purchase drivers. Other themes that will be covered include a breakdown of the shopping basket e.g. spend by category and cross-category behaviour and the assortment.


Other topics include online engagement, the role of sales staff, and traveller and shopper profile behavioural analysis.


M1nd-set focuses on shopper behaviour around touchpoints, shopping planning and the path to purchase, for this quarter. The research has been conducted among 2,000 consumers in the ferry channel across the region.


Peter Mohn, CEO and Owner at m1nd-set commented on the findings: “Communicating with duty free shoppers throughout the whole ferry trip is of course important, but the research reveals how crucial pre-trip communication is, given the high level of purchase planning among ferry travellers in the region.


Seniors and female travellers more likely to plan specifically

“More than eight out of ten duty free shoppers plan their purchases to some extent when travelling on a ferry, which means there are significant opportunities to entice the travellers and upsell as well as cross-sell and increase the basket size if retailers can reach out to them before the passengers set sail.”


Those shoppers who plan more specifically, the research reveals, are more likely to be seniors and female travellers as well as beauty purchasers. Impulse buyers only account for a small share of total shoppers – less than 15%.


Passengers on the deck of a ferry in Turku Archipelago, Finland

Passengers on the deck of a ferry in Turku Archipelago, Finland. Source: O.Kemppainen.


“Categories that are more likely to be purchased on impulse are fine food, alcohol and tobacco. Impulse buyers have a tendency to be mainly business travellers (36%), males (20%) and middle-aged travellers (19%), according to m1nd-set.


The research reveals that over two thirds of shoppers start thinking about their purchases before arriving at the ferry, with just less than half (45%) before leaving home, and 18% on the way to the ferry.


Twenty-seven percent of Nordic shoppers start thinking about their purchases only when in the shop on the ferry, however, which highlights the importance of effective in store communications and staff interaction, said m1nd-set. Over one quarter of Nordic duty free shoppers on ferries say their decision to purchase was influenced by the interaction with a sales associate.


The analysis of touchpoint exposure in the research reveals further potential to strengthen pre-store communication and engagement with shoppers, according to Mohn. “Just less than six out of ten duty free shoppers recall being exposed to touchpoints prior to entering the duty free store on the ferry, meaning that stakeholders still need to reach out to, and engage with, more than 40% of shoppers who do not notice any touchpoints prior to travelling.”


Haakon Dagestad, Chairperson of the Nordic Travel Retail Group, and HR & Communications Director at Travel Retail Norway, added: “We are pleased at NTRG to be able to provide useful and valuable insights to our members as an exclusive membership benefit.


“As a trade organisation one of our most important tasks is to support and enable our members’ businesses to thrive, and providing relevant data and analysis is one way to achieve this ambition.


“This in-depth research on ferry travellers is important and a highly valuable addition to the first wave we released on airport and inflight shopping.”


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