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

Shoppers in Asian Border Stores target alcohol, CiR research reveals

Exclusive CiR research into behaviours of shoppers in Asian border stores has revealed unique buying patterns and trends.

In a global market that is estimated to be worth in excess of $60 billion, with a sales decline in 2015 of -2.7%, two areas are bucking the trend of the decline within Duty Free and Travel Retail. By region, Asia Pacific at a value of $25.3bn is in +2.3% growth and now accounts for 41%* of Duty Free & Travel Retail sales. By sector, only Other Shops (made up of Border and Downtown stores) shows growth. Now worth $21.8bn and accounting for 35% of the industry's sales, it grew at +0.3% in 2015. Into the early part of 2016 these two areas of growth continued to increase their presence and remain an attractive proposition. 

In a recently completed in-depth research study amongst Chinese Mainland and Chinese Hong Kong travellers, CiR explored the shopper motivations and behaviours that contribute to the Border Stores channel's success. With Chinese travellers remaining the number one nationality by share of Global Duty & Tax Free spend** this report recommends how brands and retailers can maximise growth in this dynamic and important channel.

Almost half of travellers visit the Alcohol category

The pull of Alcohol is clear, with 49% of store traffic visiting the category, demonstrating the prominent role it has in bringing primary footfall into store, closely followed by visitors to Fashion & Accessories and Beauty. In the second tier of categories bringing shoppers into store are the categories of Jewellery & Watches, Tobacco and Confectionery.

High conversion rates

78% of all store visitors will become a purchaser in Asian Border Stores, displaying a conversion figure that will be the envy of airport operators. Shoppers of the Tobacco and Beauty categories are most likely to convert, followed by shoppers of Alcohol and Confectionery.

Quality is the key purchase driver

Provenance through recognised quality and brand identity are the top two purchase drivers. Almost one third highlighted that good quality was the key purchase motivator, followed by a further 24% who scored brand identity as a key motivator.

Border Stores shoppers trade up

Almost half of Asian Border Stores shoppers trade up when they buy. Combined with the guarantee of quality and a recognised brand, buyers are motivated to trade up to a more expensive, or better quality product than is usually bought at home. 

Future motivators

Better prices would appeal to 40% of respondents, but beyond this better promotional offers would appeal to over a quarter of shoppers, followed by a wider product range and the opportunity to sample products. Expectations of airport duty free exclusivity are also moving into this channel, with limited edition and exclusive products, as well as gift solutions, appealing to over one-fifth of shoppers.

Available at the end of January 2017, this report offers significant potential for retailers and brands, priced at £5,000 (GBP).

To find out more about this report or to register your interest, please contact Stephen Hillam at or visit here


* Source: Generation Research. All figures in $US Dollars. With rounding.

**Source: Global Blue