Duty-free shopping depicts pictures of busy airport terminals. However, with the rise of covid-19 pandemic, these airports have turned into vacant spaces and made the shops on airports suffer commensurately. The global duty-free retailing market size has significantly collapsed in 2020. This is owing to the financial instability of airport operators and airport retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The year 2020 was indeed the darkest year in the history of airports. As per the Airports Council International estimations, the global airport market has witnessed a decline of nearly 6 billion passengers by the end of 2020, and a decrease in revenue of $125 billion as compared to the pre-COVID estimations.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to relax in 2021, and thus boost the financial sustainability of airport operators, retailers, and the overall airport network. As per a report by Research Dive, the global duty-free retailing market is predicted to obverse significant growth
and garner $139.4 billion by 2026; owing to the increasing tourism across the world, especially after the pandemic unfolds.
Is On-arrival Duty-Free Going to be the Future Source of Revenues?
The duty-free retail segment represents a source of opportunities where sales is likely to be incited to aid airport retailers to make much required proceeds. By promoting the progress of on-arrival duty-free sales at airports, retailers can endure to thrust their retail business
revenues, to expand activities, and to extend the latitude of activities that duty-free retailers can commence at airports.
On-arrival duty free is a vital step toward recover post-pandemic which can possibly bring in much the needed-financial oxygen to the airport network. Hence, many airport retailers are adopting on-arrival duty free retailing techniques in many regions across the globe. This technique is specifically been practiced in the Latin America-Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East countries. Nearly 45 nations have by now adopted the notion of on-arrival duty free including a few of the leading aviation sectors across the globe - Brazil, India, Australia, Russian Federation, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. This type of airport service technique has become popular among travelers who wish to delay shopping till they reach the airport, mainly because of the stringent hand luggage policies and environmentalconcerns regarding carrying heavy weight aboard airplanes.
How is Duty-Free Retail Changing to Meet Emerging Trends?
Todays, airport shops mostly remind you of a shopping mall. Airport duty-free has remained highly flourishing and most demanded among consumers in the recent years. According to the World Duty Free Council, the global duty-free retail sales is the second fastest-developing
global sales network after online. A significant rise in the rate of passengers in the recent years has opened several duty-free business opportunities, and thus promoted a revolution in the air travel lifestyle.
As a part of the post-COVID recovery strategy, duty-free retailers are now beginning to turn into more sophisticated business by adding cafeterias, eateries, bars, and beauty centers to their offerings, thus imitating the idea of shopping malls. In the age of smart devices, these shops are also taking up advanced technologies, such as Alipay payments.
The Way Ahead for Duty-free Retailing Industry
As COVID-19 pandemic seems to end, duty-free retailers are altering their strategies to remain appealing to the potential customers; this is going to boost purchasing options. Also, many duty-free retail business owners have started implementing the option to purchase something at the airport and get it delivered at some other place.
As the popularity of duty-free retailing continues, numerous airports are also introducing new shops at arrivals. Developments in augmented reality (AR) and AI-powered robots are already paving their way to some of the airports. To sum up, technology is going to be the major player in the duty-free retailing sector for enhancing customer experience in the future years.