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Travel Retail is flying

Travel Retail is flying

While I am sat here eating ‘Hersheys Travel Retail Exclusive White Kisses’ (which are incredibly tasty, thanks goes to Jenny in our office!) I thought it seemed appropriate to write about travel retail. On a consumer level most people will have walked through duty free shops in airports (they’re hard to avoid!), may have purchased inflight perfumes and cosmetics and sought out other purchases while travelling.

As airports expand their passenger capacity and see an increase in more affordable travel options, passenger traffic is at an all-time high and is set to grow further. With the travel retail sector’s value projected to exceed $67 billion by 2020 – it’s certainly an industry to get to know if you aren’t familiar with the behind the scenes.

Why is it such an interesting space? The answer being that it is heavily impacted by external factors out of the sector’s control, so think travel patterns (increased travel from Chinese consumers is very topical), visa restrictions, exchange rate fluctuations, more affordable travel and airport revamps even extending to impacts from online retailers and what high street shops are doing. Very few industries can be affected by so many different factors – and still be as successful.

The next few years are going to be incredibly exciting for the industry. While historically airport sales have been dominated by premium brands, the success of online retailers (Net-a-porter, Farfetch…etc.) is meaning luxury products are more widely available and it’s forcing duty free retailers to reconsider their marketing strategies and passenger targeting to catch them even prior to departing. Equally, more cost-conscious travellers aren’t tempted by luxury products and may just be looking for affordability – introducing the newly jazzed up Hong Kong airport.

As noted by the Moodie Davitt report, while high street retailers may be fearing for the worst, travel retailers are not, and I hope while learning more about the industry I’ll get a deeper understanding of why. That is certainly reflected in the number of opportunities available in the travel retail space currently (particularly in the APAC region). Alcohol brands, apparel and cosmetics companies to name a few are expanding their travel retail teams and looking for top talent to join them – internationally mobile, culture-conscious and innovative people.

If you’re looking for opportunities in the travel retail space, get in touch with [email protected]



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