Confectionery conversion rates at 49% in travel retail, finds TFWA-backed study

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Confectionery plays 'vital role' in duty free and travel retail operations, says TFWA’s president Erik Juul-Mortensen.  ©iStock/Boarding1Now
Confectionery plays 'vital role' in duty free and travel retail operations, says TFWA’s president Erik Juul-Mortensen. ©iStock/Boarding1Now

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Almost half of visitors to airport confectionery zones go on to make a purchase, according to a study by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA).

Half of confectionery buyers also bought something other than their regular product and of these 17% bought a product for the first time.

“This means that the duty free and travel retail sector offers a valuable opportunity to any brand looking to raise awareness or break into a new market,”​ TFWA said.

TFWA was founded in 1984, and it is the world’s largest duty free and travel retail association.

Its study found 15% of airport shoppers buy confectionery while in transit. Three in 10 airport shoppers visit duty free confectionery areas and 49% of those that do buy a product. “Having the time is the main reason for visiting confectionery, closely followed by looking for a gift,”​ TFWA’s spokesperson, Alesha Allen, told ConfectioneryNews.

Developing packaging and products to reflect regions

Travel retail is described as a channel where “creating a sense of place is often an objective," ​said the TFWA.

“This is an additional strength of the confectionery sector, where brands have developed inventive packaging and products that reflect the place or region in which they are purchased,”​ it added.

The study found over a third of surveyed confectionery buyers purchased confectionery as a gift, higher than any other category other than watches and jewelry. In addition, around 54% of travelers questioned said they would be tempted to buy a product that was a souvenir or was unique to the country they visited.

“Confectionery makes the ideal gift or souvenir. It’s a great way to capture the attention of shoppers, and it therefore has a vital role to play for duty free and travel retail operators,”​ TFWA’s president Erik Juul-Mortensen said in a statement.

Confectionery is the most impulse-driven category

Almost two thirds of shoppers buy confectionery products on impulse, according to TFWA, “significantly higher than the average across all product categories, which is 41%.”

Some large confectionery brands stepped up their strategies to boost sales though travel retail in the pas year.

Lindt​ launched its “shop-in-shop”​ concept in June through a partnership with a global luxury travel retailer based in Hong Kong, called DFS. Nestlé​ also announced a similar concept during the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference in Singapore this year.

Retail marketing agency HRG has suggested confectioners should use digital technology to gain intelligence insights into consumer shopping habits, so as to tailor the shopping experience according to demographics, season, as well as changing flight profiles and passenger numbers.

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