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(formerly Counter Intelligence Retail)

We specialize in global traveler statistics, data driven insight, and activating against trends for all major categories sold in duty free and travel retail.

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Adventure-seeking Millennials crave retail engagement

Experiences are driving Millennial travel decisions and the same is true for their purchasing choices in travel retail. Detailed insight from CiR's latest research study reveals top-line conclusions for this important travelling demographic.

According to the The Millennial Traveller 2018: “Millennials are experiential travellers who engage with social media, or digitised platforms, throughout their journey. Their engagement with categories is far from the traditional – growth will only be achieved if retailers and brands dedicate time to understand these nuances.”

Millennials have become a core demographic in the duty free and travel retail market, and CiR has taken a deep dive into their travel shopping behaviour to generate important takeouts.

Among the behavioural findings:

- experiences are driving purchasing

- social media sharing has established itself as part of the consumption model

- gifting is becoming less important than self-consumption.

“It is one thing to be aware of these characteristic behaviours, but quite another to build retail strategies to leverage them,” comments Garry Stasiulevicuis, Founder and President of CiR. “The Millennial Traveller 2018 drills down to offers useful recommendation for travel retailers.”  

The adventure dividend

Significant opportunity exists in understanding what influences Millennials’ travel decisions. CiR research shows that they are much more likely to base these on adventures, experience and sporting events that a typical traveller. Retail excitement and ‘on-the-go’ solutions will therefore aide impulse shopping.

“Evoking the same excitement in the retail space that Millennials are seeking through their travel experiences is a good start,” says Stasiulevicuis. “Digital entertainment also forms part of this puzzle as it drives engagement and impulse purchases.”

Millennials are not afraid to seek out in-depth information about products, which calls for well-briefed brand ambassadors. They also expect pricing and promotional information to be available online before entering duty free shops. And with the shift to greater self-consumption, retailers need to re-align to instantaneous consumption’ patterns as well as tried-and-trusted gifting formats which may no longer yield the results they used to.

Characteristics driving exploration and discovery

Adventure travellers can be characterised by some telltale features. Nearly 50% travelling for adventure are Millennials from Asia Pacific. The relationship between travel and adventure also increases with frequent travellers (40%), while a higher seat classification (38% in business or first) is another signal.

Higher ticket categories such as fashion, watches/jewellery and electronics all over-index for this niche of Millennial travellers. From a merchandising viewpoint this creates opportunities in offering dedicated multiple-category fixtures for this target.

Social media’s subtle differences

Millennials are digital natives and using social media is second nature to them. Over half use their phones to heighten their travel experiences. However, there are subtle differences in how they engage with social media, and understanding this can drive incremental category performance.

Pre-travel research – about flights, hotels and shopping opportunities – accounts for 69% of Millennials’ use of online media channels. Low-cost travellers are also much more likely to plan online prior to a trip.

Traditional social media platforms prevail: Facebook is the most favoured platform (75%) for sharing travel information, with Instagram second (55%). Interestingly YouTube over-indexes with Millennial in the US (61% versus the 47% average) which means a supporting YouTube activation within this region is a likely good investment.

“Retailers need to focus on digital entertainment. The opportunity here exists in creating strategies that understand which platforms Millennials are engaging with for travel retail,” says Stasiulevicuis. “Social media-optimised online campaigns, using QR codes for example, could unlock experiential purchases from this demographic. Linking boarding pass information with promotions is another strong avenue for engagement since 40% are using their device to board their flight.”

These are just some of the top-line conclusions from The Millennial Traveller 2018. The report drills down into much more details aspects of this demographic in successive chapters. A whole section is devoted to Understanding the Millennial Airport Store Visitor which is broken down as follows:

- Who: Millennial Visitor Profile

- What: Millennial Visitor Purchases

- How: Millennial Duty Free Visitor Behaviour

- Why: Millennial Purchase Drivers

- Why Not: Millennial Purchase Barriers

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