Top Travel Retailers 2020

China Duty Free Group leaps to industry number one ranking for 2020

Having ranked 19th among the world’s leading travel retailers a decade ago, China Duty Free Group (CDFG) is now the biggest player in the market measured by 2020 turnover. We present a preliminary top five for last year and assess CDFG’s remarkable rise.

Driven by a rebound in domestic travel and the surging offshore duty free business in Hainan, China Duty Free Group (CDFG) became the world’s largest travel retailer measured by turnover in 2020, according to data compiled by The Moodie Davitt Report. The remarkable growth of CDFG over the past decade can be seen in its steady rise through the rankings of The Moodie Davitt Report’s Top 25 Travel Retailers, published annually as a guide to the industry’s leading players by turnover. When we published the rankings in 2011 (based on 2010 sales), CDFG was as low as 19th, with a figure of €329 million. The Chinese outbound travel wave that would drive duty free sales over the next decade was still at a relatively early stage of development. And the offshore duty free policy that would see Hainan Island become one of the world’s travel retail hotspots was announced in 2011. By 2015 CDFG ranked 12th in the list, and was fourth based on 2019 sales.

Revenue in 2020 for many duty free retailers included new, alternative, or extended channels from previous years. These will be noted in our full report.

Preliminary Top 5 travel retailer rankings 2020

(By turnover, € million)

Source: The Moodie Davitt Report

Note: Figures translated from local currency to Euros at 31 December 2020 exchange rates.

As we reported recently, parent company China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp revealed that revenues climbed by +8.1% year-on-year in 2020 to RMB52.6 billion (€6,603 million at 31 December 2020 exchange rates), with CDFG the only leading travel retailer to post any growth last year. After a difficult first three months of 2020, CDFG reported a swift reverse in its fortunes in the second quarter of the year, while its second-half results were stronger again, following the resurgence of Chinese domestic travel to Hainan and the introduction of an enhanced shopping policy from 1 July. The Moodie Davitt Report has also tracked performance among other leading travel retailers in 2020 – with full results from our Top 25 rankings to be revealed in a special edition of The Moodie Davitt eZine in July. Lotte Duty Free, despite a sharp fall in 2020 sales, delivered sales of just under KRW6.4 trillion (€4.82 billion at 31 December exchange rates), driven by a resilient daigou business and some highly creative ways (supported by Korean government supportive measures) of depleting unsold inventory. The retailer also continued to make impressive strides with its ecommerce business (which has since grown to a 60% internal share in the first quarter of 2021).

Leading travel retail companies by turnover 2010

Source: The Moodie Davitt Report

Note: Conversions are based on currency values of 31/12/2010.

A much changed picture: Top, The Moodie Davitt Report list of leading travel retailers from ten years ago (2010 sales) with CDFG in 19th place; above, the CDFG-managed Haikou International Duty Free City, which will open next year

The Shilla Duty Free posted revenue of KRW5,691 billion (€4.29 billion). Dufry (ranked first since 2014) reported a -71.1% decline in turnover in 2020 to CHF2,561.1 million (€2.37 billion at 31 December exchange rates) as its business worldwide was hit by the pandemic. We estimate DFS Group total revenues for 2020 at around €2.2 billion. Of the other leading players to have announced 2020 performance, Lagardère Travel Retail (ranked fifth in 2019) posted total revenue of €1,720 million across all sales channels and categories, down by -59.7% on a consolidated basis. *Note: These are preliminary figures, with final 2020 data to follow. Figures are those from company reports and our estimates, with some alternative online and wholesale figures included.

Partner's message


The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 294 | 28 April 2021

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

Share this article: