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Only 20% of TR shoppers see alcohol as a gift

A new TFWA study has revealed that just one in five travel retail liquor shoppers consider alcohol suitable for gifting, often cited as a significant purchasing driver in the channel.

Only one in five travel retail liquor shoppers said they consider alcohol a suitable gift – running counter to the importance traditionally placed on gift-giving

The research, from The TFWA Alcohol Duty Free and Travel Retail Category Report conducted by Counter Intelligence Retail, looked at opportunities and barriers to purchase across the alcohol category in travel retail.

While gifting has traditionally been considered a significant purchasing driver in duty free and travel retail, 62% of TR alcohol shoppers interviewed said that they purchase alcohol for themselves. On average, self-shoppers spend more on liquor when shopping for themselves than when buying a gift.

Value for money remains a critical driver for the category, with over 53% of shoppers believing there is a price advantage to be gained from shopping in the airport. 38% said they check prices before they shop in the channel.

Product choice was the next most compelling reason to shop, with 25% of those questioned stating they would be more likely to buy in the future if a wider selection was available.

Travel retail exclusive products were found to be important to alcohol shoppers, with 49% saying that they like to be able to buy products that aren’t available elsewhere.

Gift-with-purchase items (GWPs) are the most appealing promotional initiatives for just over half of those questioned.

Planned purchases in alcohol duty free and travel retail stores was significantly higher than among buyers in any other category. 50% of all shoppers said they plan their purchase, with the figure increasing to two-thirds among alcohol buyers.

Similarly, two in five shoppers across all categories said they know what brand they will choose, while three in four alcohol shoppers know they name they will opt for.

“The duty free sector clearly presents drinks brands with considerable scope for development. Price is still an important motivator to purchase alcohol at the airport, and retailers need to do all they can to ensure that the value proposition is fully understood by passengers,” said Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA president.

“However driving sales in this sector will be about more than cost cutting. There is significant opportunity to encourage customers with initiatives such as engaging gift with purchase promotions as well as the appeal of the travel retail exclusive. Developing gifting also represents an untapped opportunity, and there is room for growth here.”

The report’s findings were based on around 1,000 shopper interviews conducted at four key airports around the world. 50% of the sample were duty free buyers, and each interview lasted around 15 minutes.

TFWA members can access the full report at

Global travel retail and duty free is emerging from a year which saw sales declines, with the wine and spirits category reporting a contraction of -2.5% for the first six months of 2015.

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