Mobile technology will shape the future of duty free and travel retail


This year’s annual TFWA World Exhibition & Conference highlighted the latest shifts in consumer behaviour and how millennial travellers will impact the development of the duty free and travel retail sector in the coming years.

Presenting highlights of TFWA’s recent study on the impact and influence of mobile technology and e-commerce on duty free and travel retail, Peter Mohn, founder and chief executive officer of m1nd-set, highlighted that there are now 4.8 billion mobile device users in the world.

Further research conducted by m1nd-set found that nine out of 10 people use the internet at an airport. Out of those people surveyed, 31% said the reason they go online at an airport is to search for information on brands and products to compare prices or to find out more by reading customer reviews. While in Europe 40% of passengers do this, in China well over half (56%) consult the internet when shopping at the airport.

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Mohn stated that it is therefore very important for brands and retailers stocked at an airport to have a presence online as well as offline, and to ensure that there is consistency across all touch-points.

In addition, Garry Stasiulevicuis, managing director of Counter Intelligence Retail, revealed at the exhibition that attitudes to luxury are changing. ‘Luxury’ is no longer about possession, but all about experience. The travelling population has changed, and there is a much younger travelling consumer coming through airports who wants different things and different experiences.

There will be more than nine billion passengers travelling by 2025, with traffic increasing by 70% compared with 2015, with significant growth coming from Asia. Today, 27% of the world’s population is deemed ‘middle class’ but by 2030, this figure will grow to a staggering 60%. The biggest change in the middle class will be in Asia, and by 2030, 60% of the world’s middle class will live in this region.


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