Businessmen vs leisure travellers

What are the purchasing habits of the 2 macro-categories of travel retail customers in Europe?

Fully understanding end customers is without a doubt the first essential step to take towards the path leading to the creation of winning strategies; strategies that are able to comprehend wishes and needs and create excellent purchasing experiences.
It makes no difference in which market we work; we must always be in possession of data able to guide every single step of our strategy for the most important moment – the purchase.

From socio-demographic data to data regarding geolocation obtained from online browsing statistics, all information contributes to the fruitful structuring of our product portfolio, of our communicative approach and the follow-up plan of our vendors.

For many professionals in the travel retail industry, following this theoretical system may be too expensive or even useless. Some believe that given the intense flow of people at airports and other typical travel retail locations, profiling travellers is superfluous.
Why spend resources when it is possible to benefit from a prime location as a duty free?
The answer is extremely simple, practically banal: to transfer more value to the two main parties that determine the success of our business. In fact, knowing the singularities of each individual traveller category allows us to identify the characteristics of ideal customers for our products. Therefore, on one hand it enables us to have selling points to use with retail space managers who are intermediaries between our products and the end customers and, on the other, it allows us to study the best marketing plan to reach the latter.

As a last resort, there is no better investment than to best prepare ourselves to make informed business decisions through careful market research. Yes, it is true that the analysis path may be rather expensive from an economic and time point of view, but it enables having real competitive advantages.

The analysis to be carried out must be as much detailed and vertical as possible, but the levels of common study to start from, regardless of the product category of interest, can still be identified. An important example of this type of first level study area is the analysis of the purchasing habits of the two macro-categories of travel retail customers in Europe.
The following analysis is based on data gathered from the “European Travel Retail Study” of the Tax-Free World Association (TFWA); therefore, referring to the travel retail market in Europe.

90% of travellers purchase at least one product at each stage of their trip and spend a total average of approximately 400 Euros on shopping. 39% of this budget is used for duty-free purchases.
Each one of them is attracted by 9 product categories but makes purchases in just 5 of them. The only categories of common interest are wines and spirits, confectionery and beauty products.
71% of travellers make purchases in the duty free to take souvenirs, even food ones, to friends.

They are mainly men and represent only a quarter of travel retail customers.
Business travellers aim 50% of the spent budget in duty-free shops. Given the short duration of their travels, they hardly have the opportunity to go to shops other than the ones in the airport and their purchasing experience in the duty-free shops is characterised by a certain amount of haste. Due to this, their selection of products is mainly based on the brand identity.

Leisure travellers make up three quarters of the travel retail market, even if they spend just half of what business travellers do. Having more time, the purchasing experience is not based only on the brand identity, but rather on a meticulous selection based on several variables, pricing being the first.

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