NPD Travel Retail Logo

Welcome to NPD Travel Retail

(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.

Skip to main content

Can high conversion rates at border stores continue as more Millennials travel?

New primary research by Counter Intelligence Retail shows a very high conversion rate of 79% at Asian duty free border stores – which contrasts sharply with rates seen at airports.

Conversion (from visitors to buyers) at border shops is high for a number of reasons which CiR outlines in a new report called Asian Duty Free & Tax Free Border Store Retail 2017. Among the key considerations are the numbers of Chinese travellers at these borders (six are covered across the region); travellers’ openness to the retail offer and selection; and age differences affecting purchasing.

With respect to age, the study – released at the end of January, with research conducted in December 2016 – shows that older travellers spend more. While this is a doubtless a factor of older profiles having more money and more disposable income in general, it also points to how the Millennial generation shops.

In a world where everyone is watching their spending, “Millennials are learning to do more with less… and spending has become an art form” according to NPD Chief Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen, referencing the group’s US checkout tracking studies.  

Displays pass, but sampling fails

The CiR border report breaks shoppers down into under- and over-35s but also examines their combined perceptions on in-store drivers where display get the thumbs up, for example, but product sampling fails rather dismally, particularly at some key crossings.

CiR has already pointed to alcohol as the most purchased category at borders, which is no surprise, but fashion and accessories is close behind and represents another opportunity that looks ripe for development, especially for mainland Chinese shoppers. 

The report goes into finer detail at all the six borders with respect to demographics and purchasing trends by category, as well as showing the top brands by the different product segments, This gives users a clearer picture of this market and how than can enhance their prospects.

CiR’s Asian Duty Free & Tax Free Border Store Retail 2017 study also includes further in-depth details and analysis on:

- Pre-trip research by cross-border travellers

- Staff interaction and influence

- Optimising promotional activity

- Non-buyer profiles and purchase barriers

- Shopper behaviour by category.

For further information, please contact: or visit