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Brexit delivers significant new potential market for UK and EU duty free business

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According to m1nd-set, British and European airports will see a potential increase of 156 million eligible customers into their stores, as of January 2021; these are essentially travellers between the UK and EU countries who were previously not eligible to purchase excise goods duty free at airports on departure or arrival.

The number of travellers eligible to purchase duty free goods at European and British airports is set to increase by over 60%, following changes in British and EU regulations at the end of the Brexit transition period, as of 1 January 2021.

In a special post-Brexit analysis study, Swiss research agency m1nd-set assesses the impact of the return of duty free allowances on excise goods for travellers between EU countries and the UK. The research analyses the potential gains in terms of passenger numbers market by market focusing on the major airports and highlighting the individual gains in passenger numbers eligible to purchase duty free goods when travelling between the UK and each respective EU market before and post Brexit. Through m1nd-set’s proprietary traffic and shopper insights tool, Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S), the research agency measures the volume of duty-exempt passengers, departing from any of the 1500 airports covered in B1S, based on their unique flight path.

According to m1nd-set, British and European airports will see a potential increase of 156 million eligible customers into their stores, as of January 2021; these are essentially travellers between the UK and EU countries who were previously not eligible to purchase excise goods duty free at airports on departure or arrival.

The UK will benefit the most from the return of duty free alcohol and tobacco sales between the EU and UK with an additional 78.7 million additional eligible travellers. The other top-ten markets set to benefit include Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Greece.

The total number of additional eligible potential duty free shoppers across Spain’s airports is estimated at 16.5 million. Italy will see the third largest gain in potential eligible duty free shoppers with just below 8 million additional shoppers eligible to purchase duty free products. Germany will see just over 7.3 million additional eligible duty free shoppers among its international passengers, while the total increase in eligible passengers across the Republic of Ireland exceeds 6.6 million.

Among the other top ten markets, French airports will see an increase of 5.87 million passengers eligible to purchase duty free, the Netherlands +5.77 million, Portugal +4.09 million, Poland +4.02 million and Greece, +3.47 million. The special post-Brexit analysis study provides a detailed analysis of the potential increases of eligible passengers by individual airport as well as by market.

m1nd-set Travel Retail Research Director Clara Susset commented: “Thanks to m1nd-set’s partnership with IATA, the B1S data is the industry’s only comprehensive traffic data tool which compiles actual passenger data based on flights taken, as opposed to other tools which provide only booking information. This, combined with m1nd-set’s comprehensive database of shopper insights,” Susset continues, “means B1S provides a unique detailed and accurate picture of the potential post-Brexit shopper behaviour with quantifiable impacts based on the traffic data and forecast information. This is already enabling a significant number of m1nd-set partners to map out what the post-Brexit potential growth trajectory might look like for their category and brands.”

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