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Asia-Pacific airport retail market to grow 75% by 2015

Industry Sector



23 August 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The Asia-Pacific airport retail market has been forecast to grow 75% by 2015, making it the number one region in the world. Growth in the airport retail market is driven predominantly by passenger volumes, which are increasing rapidly in emerging markets, rather than an increase in average spend per passenger.

Asia-Pacific duty free and airport retailing outperformed Europe for the first time since the industry was born over 60 years ago in 2011. The region's sales totalled US$16 billion, up 25.5% on 2010.

The Asia-Pacific airport retail market is experiencing an average duty-free and duty paid visit spend of US$104 and US$54 respectively. Factors driving purchases at airport retail stores include competitive prices, renowned brands at discounted prices, and last minute gifts.

Overall, Asia-Pacific travellers declared that 46% of their purchases at duty-free airport retail stores were pre-planned, while 54% of purchases were impulsive in the last six months.

In total, 60% of their overall purchases made at duty paid airport retail outlets turned out to be impulsive, whereas the remaining 40% constituted pre-planned purchases in 2012.

The biggest single product category is fragrances & cosmetics at nearly 31% of sales with wine & spirits at 17%, confectionery & fine food 9%, and tobacco goods 7%. However other luxury goods, which include fashion, accessories, jewellery, watches and gifts, account for 37% of sales, illustrating the appeal of luxury products to today's travelling consumer.

Estee Lauder is one retailer that has experienced a huge amount of success within the Asia-Pacific airport retail market and this is down to China's emerging middle class becoming the single largest driver of luxury sales growth within the region.

Estee Lauder's growth in the Chinese prestige beauty market has largely relied on airport retail. The retailer anticipates some moderation in growth in the market over the next few quarters, and seeks to fuel further growth by expanding into smaller Chinese cities and airports.

According to industry experts China is likely to add 100 new airports in the next decade including emerging cities like Chongqing and Wuhan.

Asia-Pacific respondents identified 'food, beverages and tobacco', 'perfumes, cosmetics and personal care', and 'apparel, accessories and luxury goods' as the leading product categories that occupy the most airport retail space.

For more information on the Asia-Pacific airport retail market, see the latest research: Asia-Pacific Airport Retail Market Report

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