Tobacco & Reduced Risk Products III

Tobacco in travel retail: The shopper view

Travel retail consumer research company PI Insight has released the Recovery Series of reports into shopper behaviour in the channel in 2021, with comparisons to pre-pandemic times. In this feature, we examine consumer attitudes to the tobacco/reduced risk category, courtesy of PI Insight data.

In 2021 to date, travel retail shoppers from key European markets have shown an increased level of interest in the tobacco category compared to 2019, with higher average footfall and spend. That’s according to new findings from consumer research specialist PI Insight. The company’s European Duty Free Tobacco Shopper study forms part of The Recovery Series of reports. This is based on over 7,000 quantitative interviews among European respondents that have travelled internationally between May – October 2021, of which 1,060 deeper interviews were conducted among tobacco buyers. Nationalities sampled include British, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, with all respondents are aged over 21. Key findings around footfall and spend were as follows: Tobacco category footfall

  • 37% of duty free visitors in 2021 browsed tobacco versus 33% in 2019
  • 27% of duty free visitors purchased tobacco versus 23% in 2019

Tobacco shopper spend

  • US$67 versus US$48 in 2019

Tobacco categories purchased (among those who bought tobacco )

  • Cigarettes: 73%
  • Cigars: 16%
  • E-cigarettes: 13%
  • Roll your own: 12%
  • Heat-not-burn: 7%

Tobacco and related categories (including RRP) have proven a drawcard for shoppers as business has returned, PI Insight research suggests

The report also touched on the key purchasing drivers, which PI Insights said had remained broadly consistent since 2019, although there were indications that premiumisation was becoming a more important feature in attracting shoppers. Tobacco purchasing drivers

  • Good quality: 32% versus 25% in 2019
  • Cheaper prices: 26% versus 24% in 2019
  • My / recipient’s usual brand: 23% versus 26% in 2019
  • To stock up: 22% versus 18% in 2019
  • Well-known brand: 18% versus 16% in 2019

The self purchasing occasion continues to be the most prominent purchase reason among tobacco buyers in duty free, although its importance has declined relative to 2019. The downward trend in purchasing for oneself has been driven by a significant increase in both share purchasing and shoppers purchasing for others, where just over half of recipients are family members. Tobacco purchase reasons

  • Purchased for self: 64% versus 82% in 2019
  • Purchased to share: 15% versus 5% in 2019
  • Purchased for others: 21% versus 13% in 2019

Choice of brands

Of those purchasing for themselves, a far higher proportion are buying tobacco brands that sit outside their regular portfolio, according to PI Insight. This, it said, illustrates a “more experimental tobacco shopper with an increased desire to interact with brands they would not regularly consider in the domestic market. This presents a key opportunity for tobacco brands to drive increased brand uptake among the European duty free tobacco shopper and smoker base”. Tobacco purchase habits

  • Purchased a regular brand: 65% versus 77% in 2019
  • Purchased an occasional brand: 32% versus 20% in 2019
  • Purchased a brand for the first time: 3% versus 3% in 2019

About Pi Insight

Founded in early 2019, Pi Insight is dedicated to providing travel retail specific research and insight services. With in-location and online quantitative and qualitative travel retail insight & research capabilities, Pi Insight provides client-specific solutions including shopper behaviour studies, price elasticity and packaging concept testing, segmentation studies and brand tracking studies among many others.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 304 | 21 December 2021

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