Year in Review

Leadership of thought and action in 2020

We highlight five outstanding examples of creative and positive thinking and action that enhanced the reputation and advanced the business prospects of the industry even in this most challenging of years.

A game-changer in Hainan

1 July 2020 will go down as a momentous date in industry history, one that will help set the future trajectory for Asian and global travel retail. In a world exclusive, we broke the news that the annual offshore duty free allowance for shoppers visiting Hainan Island was to be raised from RMB30,000 (US$4,215) to RMB100,000 (US$14,050) as part of sweeping government plans announced for the creation of Hainan Free Trade Port. Crucially the range of duty free categories was also expanded, with spirits & wines benefiting alongside watches, phones, computers and fashion.

The move is a powerful example of how far-sighted government policy (under the Chinese authorities’ drive to retain traveller spend at home) can dictate the fortunes of an entire sector, in this case one that relies on domestic traffic – resurgent in China since the COVID-19 crisis there eased in February. It also lays the groundwork for a new era of offshore duty free development and potential prosperity for decades to come.

Click here for our original story.

Gaining sight of the future: The CDFG Haikou International Duty Free Mall

Pathway to the future of flight

In a brilliantly insightful report produced in early May before new protocols for travelling were set, aviation marketing consultancy SimpliFlying mapped out over 70 areas that would affect (or be demanded by) travellers in the post-COVID-19 landscape.

“Welcome to your flight in 2021,” said Simpliflying Founder & CEO Shashank Nigam. “Before boarding, please walk through the disinfection tunnel and thermal scanner, and have your bags ‘sanitagged.’ The aviation marketing firm cited boarding restrictions, immunity passports, mask wearing, the removal of physical inflight magazines, digital menus and the cashless cabin among other prescient observations about how the new world might take shape (and in many cases, has done).

How we reported the story in May about Simpliflying and its vision for the new era of travel

“A magical experience that will change retail forever”

In an innovation that chimes with the times we live, OTG brought checkout-free shopping to US airport stores in March with the deployment of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology — a world-first for the industry.

The travel restaurateur introduced the technology initially at its CIBO Express Gourmet Market in Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal C.

Blatstein told The Moodie Davitt Report that Just Walk Out was “perfect for the airport environment”, and that it would “change retail around the world, forever”.

“People will be able to just walk in, take what they want, and walk out – it’s a magical experience, and unlike anything else.”

Crucially, it’s a move that hands back control of the transaction to the traveller, eliminates friction and saves time – all likely elements that the consumer will demand of the travel shopping experience in the years ahead.

Amazon Go: Might travel retail transactions look like this in future?

“Sailing an industry back to hope”

The cruise sector worldwide was devastated by the impact of COVID-19, and the return of MSC Grandiosa was a critical breakthrough. From an industry point of view, Grandiosa was the first ship to implement a comprehensive health and safety protocol that was approved by national authorities. In line with the new standards in place across MSC ships, MSC Retailing also significantly adapted its own processes to ensure an enhanced level of safety. MSC protocols have since been adopted by other cruise lines as best practice as they plan for the wider return of cruising in 2021.

MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica: Charting a new course for cruising based on the highest of hygiene standards

Breakthrough opportunity: The QDF Factor

Innovators, ideators, disrupters, dreamers and entrepreneurs were encouraged – and boy, did they respond – to take part in The QDF Factor, an unprecedented initiative to encourage and champion creativity at a time when travel retail needed it most.

It was the brainchild of Qatar Duty Free (QDF) and The Moodie Davitt Report, a competition open to all brands, both within or outside the travel retail channel, offering a top prize of a complimentary, six-month listing and high-profile promotion at Qatar Duty Free’s award-winning retail offer in Hamad International Airport, Doha.

As we have reported, The QDF Factor – which culminated in the naming of short-list and winners at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo – attracted a diverse and compelling array of entries.

As reported, all ten finalists secured a six-month listing with Qatar Duty Free, as revealed in a stunning announcement by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Akbar Al Baker before the final winners were named.

The ten finalists were:

1. Long Haul SPA inflight travel kits 2. Make Sure hand sanitiser gel 3. Suqqu make up and skin care 4. The Perfumist Pro application (by Big Data Solution) 5. The Dalmore Ensemble Collection by Whyte & Mackay 6. Caribbean Expedition Cognac by Camus 7. Somrus Cream Liqueur 8. Cihuatán Rum 9. Article 22: Jewellery handmade from bomb scrap in Laos 10. Kind Bags: made from 100% recycled plastic bottles

Culmination of an extraordinary jouney: The QDF Factor short-list and winners are announced during Virtual Travel Retail Expo week in October

Qatar Duty Free Vice President of Operations Thabet Musleh memorably summed up the initiative, saying: “We are beyond humbled by The QDF Factor journey. What this competition demonstrated is that travel retail really is the perfect shop window for innovation. We have heard a lot about digital and ecommerce, but let’s not forget about the physical retail space where customers can touch, feel and really experience products. That’s what the industry is all about.”

Lexicon of 2020: Trending words and phrases in travel retail*

*The number of times the term was used in a story on The Moodie Davitt website in 2020 compared to 2019.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 289 | 21 December 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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