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Pandemic recovery research underscores need for bespoke region-specific approach to customer

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Europeans show below-average behaviour across all three drivers – promotions, exclusives and new, unique items. 69% purchased a promotion, 67% purchased a product for the first time in the duty free and duty paid shops, and only 39% said they purchased an exclusive when shopping in travel retail, all below the global average.

Swiss travel and travel retail research agency m1nd-set’s second regional analysis on Covid-19 recovery shopper behaviour reveals several stark variations in shopper activities. The research unveils how international travellers from Europe and the Americas – North and Latin America – are influenced to purchase in travel retail.

The research also focuses on how travellers from both regions behave when shopping and planning their shopping in duty free stores since international travel has resumed post-pandemic. According to m1nd-set, one of the major findings from the research is the differentiation in shopper behaviour across several of the criteria analysed in the regional analysis. The research agency said there are several examples of strong regional disparities on some shopping behaviour tendencies, and that a tailored approach to the customer based on regional and cultural differences and sensitivities will be increasingly important as international travel continues to open.

m1nd-set owner and CEO Peter Mohn commented: “Understanding these cultural differences is essential so retailers and brands can ensure staff and brand ambassadors are informed and trained on how to approach each customer in a more bespoke manner. It’s incredibly useful for front-line staff to know how travellers from different regions respond and react differently to promotions, how sensitive they are to travel retail exclusives and new product launches or how willing or unwilling they are to engage with the sales staff.

One of the major points of differentiation that emerges from m1nd-set’s latest research on international travellers in travel retail from Europe and the Americas is with staff interaction and engagement. While over 70% of travellers globally tend to interact with sales staff, only 62% of Europeans choose to engage to seek information from the staff in store, according to m1nd-set. Conversely, in the Americas region, around 8 out 10 travellers engage with staff. Travellers from the Americas are also considerably sensitive to the advice given by sales staff, with 86% saying they were positively impacted in their purchasing decision as a result of the interaction, higher than the global average of 80%. This is also the highest among all world regions. For European travellers we see lower-than-average positive trends, with only three in four international travellers from the region reporting a positive impact.

There are also quite stark variations in shopper behaviour regarding how travellers from different regions react to shopping drivers such as promotions, exclusives and new and unique items in the duty free shops, m1nd-set reports. Shoppers from the Americas are particularly sensitive to the promotions available with nearly 8 out of 10 shoppers from the region purchasing a promotion, higher than the global average of 73%. Shoppers from North and Latin America also have above average tendency to purchase products they have never bought before, (76% vs 72% globally). They seem to be less interested in purchasing travel retail exclusives than travellers globally as 43% of shoppers from the Americas region purchased a TR exclusive compared to the global average of 45%.

In comparison, Europeans show below-average behaviour across all three drivers – promotions, exclusives and new, unique items. 69% purchased a promotion, 67% purchased a product for the first time in the duty free and duty paid shops, and only 39% said they purchased an exclusive when shopping in travel retail, all below the global average.

Mohn continued: “The impact of the pandemic appears to have been lesser in Europe and the Americas than for the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. 48% of travellers from the Americas and 54% of European travellers said they had been impacted negatively, which is lower than the global average of 55% and lower than for travellers from the MEA and Asia Pacific regions. However, significantly more travellers from the Americas than travellers from all other world regions say that they have been impacted positively by the pandemic. This explains the more dynamic behaviour among shoppers from the Americas across certain shopping drivers and other behavioural tendencies” Mohn concluded.

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