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Healthy revival among Asia Pacific and Middle East shoppers

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One of the key findings of the research, according to m1nd-set, is that the majority of travellers from both regions say they have been impacted negatively by the pandemic, more so than the global average. 59% of travellers from both the MEA and Asia Pacific regions said they had been impacted negatively, higher than the global average of 55%.

The latest consumer research from Swiss research agency, m1nd-set, unveils how Covid has impacted the way Asia Pacific and MEA travellers shop and are influenced to purchase in duty free. The report also reveals category purchasing and average spend, with positive prospects for both regions.

One of the key findings of the research, according to m1nd-set, is that the majority of travellers from both regions say they have been impacted negatively by the pandemic, more so than the global average. 59% of travellers from both the MEA and Asia Pacific regions said they had been impacted negatively, higher than the global average of 55%. The pandemic has had a direct impact on purchasing power for consumers from both regions. 56% of MEA travellers say they are spending less and 54% in Asia Pacific, which again is greater than the global average of 50%. Spending on discretionary items such as skincare, alcohol, gifts, perfumes and chocolate has been reduced by 40% of travellers from Asia Pacific and 45% of those from the MEA, which is significantly higher than the global average of 35%. However, despite this challenging context, for both the MEA region and Asia Pacific, average spend on the last international trip in the Duty Free shops was 10% higher than the global average (circa US$185 compared to US$168). Shoppers from both regions tend to purchase more categories than the global average also.

The research also highlights how key performance indicators such as footfall and conversion rates have evolved across both regions. Footfall in the MEA region is above average (45% vs 39%) while in Asia Pacific, it is moderately lower than the global average (36% vs 39%). Conversion on the other hand reveals the opposite trend; travellers from the Asia Pacific, who visit the Duty Free shops, tend to shop more than those from any other region with a 65% conversion rate, according to the research, while travellers from the MEA region have one of the lowest conversion rates globally at 54%, compared to the global average of 56%.

Reasons to purchase, planning vs impulse purchasing and the impact of touch points including staff as well as online touch points are also analysed in this latest regional research analysis. The importance of online branding is highlighted with almost all travellers from both regions stating they had seen product and brand information on the internet, prior to shopping. According to m1nd-set nearly 8 out of 10 shoppers from both the Asia Pacific and MEA regions compare prices, with one fifth of MEA shoppers and one quarter of Asia.

Pacific travellers comparing prices online. Pre-order and purchase opportunities would clearly be welcomed by travellers from both regions, the research reveals; just over half of shoppers from both regions said they would use the Duty Free shop website for some of the purchases while around one third said they would use it for most of their purchases.

The importance of promotions and travel exclusives for travellers from the Asia Pacific and MEA regions is another key finding from the research, with above-average shopping behaviour for travel retail exclusives in particular. For promotions specifically, 76% of Asia Pacific shoppers say they purchased products on promotion in the Duty Free shop. This is higher than the global average of 73%, while for MEA region shoppers, the impact of promotions remains strong albeit slightly lower than the global average; 66% of MEA shoppers say they purchased promotions.

Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development at m1nd-set, commented on the research findings: “It’s important to note that despite the extremely challenging context for the industry and the reduction in spend levels generally, the research shows that duty free industry will bounce back strongly as Duty Free is clearly attracting shopper spend from both regions, in this post-pandemic era, given the above average spend levels. We are seeing a spike in interest from companies across all categories who are keen on deep-dive analysis, to understand how specific customer segments are behaving. It’s encouraging to see such strong demand for these in-depth consumer insights; it’s a great sign of recovery for the industry” Marchesini concluded.

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