Travel retail exclusives special report

Seizing an “unparalleled opportunity”

As demand continues for products that distinguish travel retail from its domestic and online rivals, Liam Coleman talks to brands and retailers who are championing this strategy and introducing dynamic exclusives to travel locations.

Travel retail exclusives are regularly identified as one of the most important differentiators for the channel. In the latest Duty Free World Council (DFWC) KPI Monitor, travellers overwhelmingly agreed that having a selection of products on offer that cannot be found in other channels makes duty free a great place for shopping.

“A strong selection of unique products that are suitable for gifting, targeted promotions, and new product launches all help increase shopper satisfaction levels – and consequently spend levels,” says DFWC President Sarah Branquinho of the findings.

Many retailers and brands underline this in their assessment of travel retail and its USPs.

“These products allow us to really differentiate our offer from the domestic market or online”

Gebr Heinemann Chief Commercial Officer Kay Spanger

Mars International Travel Retail Category Director Raghav Rekhi adds: “Exclusives help to create an exciting, inviting and interesting shopping offer to the consumer, differentiating it from another form of retail.”

Despite being one of the strongest differentiators for travel retail compared to domestic and online retail, Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President of Purchasing Saba Tahir says the concept “could pass consumers by”, highlighting the need for strong marketing, product displays and information.

Richard Trimby, Director of Global Travel Retail at drinks company Whyte & Mackay, believes customer awareness of travel retail exclusives can be improved by actions taken by both brands and retailers. “We as brands must communicate that products are traveller-exclusive on all the packaging, but it is important that it is also highlighted at the point of sale.

Molton Brown’s latest campaign focused on engagement and social interaction

“We know that a number of travellers are pre-planners, so it is important that we let them know about the opportunity to discover hidden gems before they reach the airport. We have been using our customers’ digital channels to raise awareness about our travel retail-exclusive range, as well as utilising social media channels in domestic markets in Asia, but we believe more can be done here.”

This is also an approach taken by fragrance and skincare brand Molton Brown, whose Global Travel Retail Brand Manager Ines Mallet says it is important to “think bigger” when promoting travel retail exclusives. “In conjunction with our Chinese New Year release, Molton Brown partnered with [marketing technology platform] iClick to engage Chinese customers in the UK during holiday season via apps including Hyperlocal, Mosocial and Youdao,” she explains.

At DXB, Dubai Duty Free uses dedicated gondolas that highlight travel retail exclusives. The retailer also displays products on the cash counters in some shops. But more can still be done to promote these products, according to Tahir, with social media a key area for development. It could be used to “aggressively mark dedicated areas in every shop to highlight the products,” she says.

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“Travel retail exclusives are originally conceived to offer customers a point of difference from domestic market products but still retain the brand name that they want and aspire to own,” she continues.

“Add to this the rise of the ’bleisure’ traveller [business travellers combining more leisure into their business trips], higher than average dwell times, and the continued rise in airport passenger traffic, and it is clear that airport retailers might possibly be the perfect environment for exclusive products.”

A further obstacle for communicating this with consumers is the varying and vague language used, Spanger says. “Travellers are certainly engaged by the term ‘exclusive’,” he notes. “But we have to clearly communicate what exclusive means in travel retail – that it is referring to products that they can’t find anywhere else outside the airport environment.

Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President of Purchasing Saba Tahir: “Airport retailers might be the perfect environment for exclusive products”

“Every retailer should find its own clear concept cluster (i.e. travel exclusive, price advantage, size advantage). This would certainly help to make the concept more easily understandable for travellers and to add credibility.”

Some consumers have a false perception that exclusives are only available in the high price point categories, he says. “It is vital to offer exclusives for all price points and communicate this effectively to eradicate this confusion. Because confusion is an obstacle to sales.”

Travel retail exclusives can be offered at an accessible price point in the confectionery category. And Mondelez World Travel Retail Head of Brand Marketing Irina Tarabanko says that increasing consumer awareness of exclusives in confectionery can provide incremental revenue across categories.

“Seeing that confectionery is a highly impulse-oriented category and likely to induce cross-category purchases, awareness of what the channel can uniquely offer remains essential to seize a sizable opportunity for incremental revenue,” she comments.

Lindt & Sprüngli emphasises new launches and developments within its most popular ranges

Spanger believes that travel retail exclusives are vital and “must be taken more seriously by the industry”. He concludes: “Travel retail exclusives are an unparalleled opportunity for brands to attract new customers among international travellers as well as increase loyalty with their existing customer base. Travel retail is the shop window to the world for brands, offering our suppliers many opportunities to sharpen their own brand profile and in this way generate growth for themselves.”

Over the coming pages, we look at how industry stakeholders are collaborating on this opportunity, spotlight travel retail-exclusive products that have caught our eye, and hear about success stories from brands across categories.

Which travel retail-exclusives have caught your eye recently?

Gebr Heinemann Chief Commercial Officer Kay Spanger: “We are satisfied with the results of the Lindt Dark Caramel Sea Salt Edition, which we launched last year. The flavour combination is featured exclusively in Heinemann stores for one year, and adds a true differentiation from the high street for the participating airports.”

Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President of Purchasing Saba Tahir: “The Lancôme Genefique duo and the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair duo set are two big contributors in this section. Both sets offer great value and have been very successful in the last few years.”

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The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 277 | 24 February 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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