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Post-pandemic mega trends for travel retail


Changing consumption patterns due to the global pandemic is causing the emergence of new mega trends in travel retail, according to the latest consumer research from m1nd-set.

The research introduces a range of new consumer trends that are affecting shopper behaviour and highlights, several of which will be specific to the travel retail sector.

And, according to Swiss research agency, some of the mega trends already emerging include:

– An increased migration of price-sensitive shoppers to online marketplaces
– Enhanced tracking of human behaviour both physical and online, with more advanced analytics and targeting technology leading to greater personalisation
– An increase in contactless shopping experiences
– A greater focus on zero-waste production and more sustainable consumption practices.

The accentuated shift to digital, following the global pandemic, is one of the most prominent trends, which will inevitably impact the travel retail sector, says m1nd-set.

Almost two-thirds of travellers spend more time on social media and more than half say they purchase more online than they did before the pandemic, reveals m1ind-set, insisting that its research points to a continuation of this tendency as novice online shoppers such as the senior age-group become more accustomed to the e-commerce experience.

It notes that the significant increase in the percentage of travellers who say they notice communications touchpoints more, further underlines the growing importance of digital communications in travel retail.

International travellers are also more disposed to, and expectant of, a more sophisticated e-commerce experience in travel retail, says m1ind-set, with more than half (53%) of travellers stating they are willing to shop online or pre-order online and collect their goods either upon boarding their flight or on arrival at the destination airport.

Chinese travellers, it adds, are particularly keen on the shift to e-commerce in the travel retail sector, with 62% stating they would choose this shopping channel in travel retail.

The global figure is significantly higher than in 2020 when only 24% said they would be willing to shop for their duty free and travel retail items online.

A greater focus on health and wellbeing, increasingly expected by international travellers, is another mega trend that will be reflected in travel retail, if the research is to believed.

The data suggests that around three quarters of travellers say they will prioritise their health and mental wellbeing more now when they travel than they did before COVID and that consumers are also more conscious about social and environmental issues since the pandemic, and are looking to purchase more environmentally friendly produced and packaged products.

Indeed, more than 80% of travellers said their perception of certain brands is said to have improved as a result of their increased focus by manufacturers on sustainability.

This positive brand perception will be positive for sales too, according to m1nd-set, with 72% of travellers revealing that a positive brand perception linked to sustainability will incentivise them to purchase a product.

Around two-thirds of travellers are even said to be willing to pay more for a product if it has been produced and packaged in an environmentally friendly manner. The research reveals the segments most sensitive to the environment and willing to pay more are Europeans and North Americans.

The Swiss research agency’s CEO, Peter Mohn, says: “The challenge the travel retail industry faces today is navigating through these numerous new trends and ensuring that the airport and onboard passenger experience is consistent with new business practices experienced in society at home.

“The post-COVID consumer is likely to be less forgiving and show less brand loyalty if the service or product experience does not cater to the new post-pandemic consumer mindset, particularly where health and safety is concerned.

“The travel retail experience has often been besmirched for lagging behind the high street on digitalisation or behind the online retail environment for personalisation and fulfilment.

“In the post-pandemic environment, travel retail will not only need to meet the level of innovation in the high street, but also match the modernisation in society generally.”

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