Travel retail survey points to springboard potential for watch brands

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 12: General view Duty Free shops at Terminal 1 at Frankfurt / Main International Airport on September 12, 2013 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

A new study from travel retail industry body TFWA has revealed the channel’s potential for watch and jewellery brands.

Out of all the product categories surveyed ‘Watches and Jewellery’ represented the highest percentage of gifting, with a 50/50 split between gift and personal purchases.

But 78% of those shopping for themselves purchased a brand they do not usually buy, while 40% purchased the brand for the first time.


Perhaps most telling, seven-in-ten shoppers had no prior awareness of the brand they had purchased, something which TFWA cited as evidence of travel retail and duty free offering ‘outstanding exposure to new audiences’, and ‘a sound springboard to new customers’.

“The watches and jewellery category in global duty free and travel retail was valued at $5.7 billion [£4.3bn] in 2015,” says TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen. “However the sector needs to do more to turn the very substantial amount of watches and jewellery browsers into buyers as currently about one-in-seven airport shoppers visit the category but only 5% buy. By focusing on improving conversion, the category has plenty of scope to capitalise on the significant opportunity presented by the duty free and travel retail channel.”

The report was one of a series of categories commissioned by the TFWA from Counter Intelligence Retail and is based on 1,000 shopper interviews conducted at four key airports around the world.

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