Tobacco & Reduced Risk Products: Dubai Duty Free

Towards the next generation at Dubai Duty Free

Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President for Purchasing Sharon Beecham talks about the continuing role of tobacco in the business, and the opportunities for reduced risk and next generation innovation in the category.

For Dubai Duty Free, one of the world’s leading travel retailers, tobacco continues to play a solid role in the mix, with reduced risk and next generation products claiming a growing share. From January to November this year, amid the rebuilding of traffic and trading, tobacco accounted for just over 10% of total sales. Within this, reduced risk products contributed 12.7%. Senior Vice President for Purchasing Sharon Beecham says: “Reduced risk products such as heat-no-burn, vaping and nicotine pouch (tobacco free) are important for Dubai Duty Free and travel retail channels. Our consumers now enjoy a wider choice of products and they appreciate having the choices that we offer. The trend of those reduced-risk products is definitely growing.” She adds that in relative terms, the tobacco business has been “stable” during the crisis. “However, we are expecting an increase in the sales and contribution from reduced risk products. I think it is reasonable to say that reduced risk products are the future for the tobacco category.”

“Reduced risk products are the future for the tobacco category”

Dubai Duty Free Senior Vice President for Purchasing Sharon Beecham

At 10% of sales, tobacco remains a solid staple of the Dubai Duty Free mix, with RRP items taking an ever greater share

The category leaders today are IQOS and HEETS, with JUUL and VUSE also performing well compared to the initial stage of their listing, says the retailer. There is a growing place in the mix for vaping and tobacco-free products, the company adds. Dubai Duty Free has dedicated some high-visibility space for reduced risk products, with IQOS in particular standing out. Experts are engaged to speak with travellers about the brands on offer. Beecham adds that educational materials, QR codes and display materials are well placed in the tobacco stores. Brand owners have a role to play in reinforcing the positioning of these products as part of the offer too.

Dubai Duty Free: Positive signals about category innovation and brand partnerships

Beecham says: “We have close communication and cooperation with suppliers related to reduced risk products and put together offers such as price-off promotion and gift with purchase. In addition, it is important to have their expertise in-store to personally discuss the products with customers.” While the wider category faces its challenges, reduced risk products are taking an increasing share of the business where they are available, notably at the major international hubs. Statements of faith from partners such as Dubai Duty Free represent positive signals as the category continues its rapid evolution towards a future led by reduced risk products.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 304 | 21 December 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

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