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(formerly Counter Intelligence Retail)

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‘Understanding the passenger mix key to retail success’ CiR reveal

As 2016 draws to a close, CiR draw on conversations with many industry leaders in Cannes where the subject of passenger profiling frequently featured, and look ahead to actionable insights for 2017.

Based on interviews with thousands of airport shoppers, CiR are able to share key insights into the different shopping dynamics of leading nationalities, and importantly offer five key recommendations on how to optimise the shopping experience to delight shoppers of different nationalities.

Optimising space

Depending on the passenger mix in your store, there are key destination categories for nationalities. CiR research shows that Liquor is a key destination for Russian passengers, with almost 3 in 4 purchasing from the category when travelling. An opportunity to maximise sales with this group lies in making the category accessible and shoppable. Meanwhile Tobacco is attractive to key Asian nationalities, with 2 in 5 Chinese and South Korean airport shoppers seeking out and purchasing from the category when they travel. Beauty is also a destination for Chinese shoppers, with 2 in 5 making a purchase, closely followed by Russian and South Korean passengers. Confectionery is key where Indian passengers are travelling, with 3 in 5 purchasing from the category. Dual siting the category to maximise visibility will make the most of this opportunity, especially given the nationality's propensity to purchase from the liquor category.


Source: CiR Nationality Research 2015-2016, Categories most likely to be bought by nationality when travelling

Tailoring the message

Communications can also be tailored to attract shoppers based on their different purchase missions and motivators. CiR research reveals that good quality prevails as a primary purchase motivation for airport shopping, travellers are confident that the goods available have credible heritage and this encourages them to make the purchase in store. For South Korean passengers however, cheaper price than elsewhere is a key purchase driver, ahead of good quality. So in-store communications have to reinforce the value message to attract the attention of this group of shoppers and convert from them from browsers to buyers.

International brand is a pull factor for Indian shoppers, along with good quality, so strong brand displays with 'lighthouse' brands will help attract this group into store. Chinese shoppers are looking for new and different products, reinforcing the role that airports can have in recruiting new shoppers to brands and being a platform for new product launches.

Duty free as a gifting opportunity

It is well documented that gift purchasing within airport shops is higher than at other retail outlets, which poses an opportunity to develop this shopping mission amongst key travelling nationalities. Over one in three Chinese and South Korean airport shoppers are shopping for a gift, so displays and gift-worthy packaging will delight these passengers. Added value could be included in the transaction with services such as packaging personalisation. Indian shoppers are also more likely to be shopping for a gift than other nationalities. American, British and Russian passengers are more likely to be purchasing for self.

Opportunity for brand recruitment

Airports are a vital platform for global brands. As Mohamed Elsarky, CEO of Godiva, has commented, "Travel retail is where consumers get to first interact with us if we are not present in the domestic market. We learn more about where the potential markets are and we learn more about consumer likes". South Korean and Indian airport shoppers show great propensity for purchasing a non-regular brand when travelling, with 3 in 4 South Korean and 3 in 5 Indian shoppers purchasing a non-regular brand in the airport. Given the confidence of brand authenticity and access to international brands, these shoppers extend their brand purchasing repertoire, and experiential activity within store can encourage shoppers to consider alternative brands and emphasise the range available.

Encourage higher spending

As the airport often signifies the beginning of a leisure trip, or the return from a business trip, the opportunity to encourage shoppers to trade up within the store is present. Chinese and Indian shoppers are the groups most likely to trade up in the airport shop, with 3 in 5 shoppers doing so. 

Triggers within the store can encourage this such as; attractive displays, global brand visibility, clear value communication and knowledgeable staff who are able to converse in the shopper's language. Likewise, an irresistible shopping environment and experience could encourage greater spend from those nationality groups who are less likely to trade up in the store.

Discover more about the key nationality profiles and shopping behaviours, in CiR’s comprehensive nationality reports. The research is available now in ready-to-buy versions for each of the nationalities featured; American, BritishChineseIndian, Russian and South Korean passengers. Alternatively, a bespoke report can be created to suit individual requirements.


Article based on CiR insight.