Sustainability ‘major factor’ for Nordic shoppers, NTRG insights find

By Kristiane Sherry |

Haakon Dagestad, NTRG Chair, says business travellers are especially on the look-out for sustainable products in Nordics travel retail. 

The Nordic Travel Retail Group (NTRG) has released its latest quarterly insights report which shows sustainability is an “increasingly major factor” in purchasing decisions for shoppers in the region. 

Produced in partnership with Swiss research agency m1nd-set, NTRG’s insights analyse shoppers’ intentions and reason for purchase, as well as their sentiment towards product assortments. The analysis covers inflight, ferry and airport duty free retail environments. 

According to the report, sustainability is said to be “highly important” to a significant majority of travellers questioned. 

The research also explored whether the assortment itself was a purchase driver in travel retail. 50% of shoppers in airport duty free said it was, compared to 33% of ferry shoppers, and 27% inflight. 

Intent to purchase was also found to vary by channel. Just over half (53%) of airport shoppers said they had a specific purchase mission in airports, compared to the 73% on board ferries. 

According to NTRG research, the key drivers to purchase in airports were gifting, looking for a specific item, or as a self-treat. On board ferries, shoppers either had a specific purchase in mind, they were looking for the latest releases, or they intentionally were looking for a duty free exclusive. 

Airport shoppers had the highest rate of self-consumption purchases (43%), with ferry retail following (33%), and inflight lagging behind (23%).

When it came to gifting, ferry passengers led the rankings (49%), with airport shoppers at 41% and the inflight channel at 26%.

Purchases for sharing stood at 51% for inflight shoppers, compared to 15% on ferries and 13% in airports. 

Business travellers look for sustainability

“The research reveals some quite different expectations by the various shopper segments and across the three duty free channels when we study the results of the research,” said Haakon Dagestad, Chairperson of the Nordic Travel Retail Group and Deputy CEO at Travel Retail Norway. 

“We see that middle-aged travellers and business travellers in particular are expecting to see sustainable products in airport duty free shops, quoting specifically the reduced packaging and sustainable production processes as the areas they are more discerning about. 

Eco-packaging designs are the biggest concern for in-flight customers.

“In the ferry duty free retail environment, shoppers are more concerned about eco-friendly ingredients and materials of the products they purchase, especially for fashion items and souvenirs. 

“As well as business travellers, Millennials and Gen Zs are the segments that underlined the importance of sustainable goods in the ferry retail channel product assortment.”

He added that eco-packaging and sustainable production were the biggest concerns for inflight consumers, with Millennial shoppers and men the most demanding demographics.

Lack of assortment a ‘barrier’

Dagestad continued: “We see that the lack of assortment is more of a barrier to purchase in the ferry retail channel for example, and that non-buyers on ferries are more likely than non-buyers in airports to mention specific barriers to purchase. 

“This level of data equips NTRG members with valuable insights and enables us all to address specific shopper segments with a better understanding of needs and expectations.”

Peter Mohn, m1nd-set CEO & Owner, said: “We see some commonalities across both channels as millennials tend to be looking for the latest new products, across both retail channels and together with seniors are also likely to look for gifts. 

“Visitors to the Make Up category section tend to have a specific purchase in mind across both airport and ferry retail, while those who shop for souvenirs are looking to purchase products that are suitable as a self-treat.”

Last year, NTRG and mind-set data showed that one-third of ferry shoppers in the region know exactly what brand they wish to purchase in advance.

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