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Asia-Pacific Airports discovers that confectionery remains an important product in airport duty free shops across the globe.

A new study by the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) has highlighted the important role that confectionery plays in attracting customers to duty free and travel retail across all categories. 

The report, which is part of the TFWA Category Reports series, concludes that confectionery is a major lure to shoppers and provides a welcome element of theatre within the channel.

Confectionery has one of the highest levels of conversion, reveals the TFWA, with nearly half (49%) of all visitors to the sector going on to make a purchase, putting it on a par with alcohol.

It reveals that three in ten airport shoppers visit and 15% go on to purchase. And it claims that confectionery buying is also the most impulse driven, with almost two thirds buying on impulse, significantly higher than all buyers (41%).

The survey also confirmed the appeal of confectionery in the all-important gifting category. Over a third bought confectionery as a gift, higher than any other category other than watches and jewellery. 

In addition, over half (54%) of travellers questioned said they would be tempted to buy a product that was a souvenir or was unique to the country they visited, highlighting the useful role confectionery can play in creating that essential ‘sense of place’. 

Travel retail exclusives are also popular, largely because they are perceived to offer good value. 

According to the survey, one in four of those buying confectionery choose a particular product because of its quality, making that the top driver of purchase, while one in five select an item ‘as a treat or reward’, or because it is ‘a well-known brand’.

However, just over half (53%) knew the brand or the product they would buy for their main confectionery item. Half of confectionery buyers bought something other than their regular product and of these, a third bought an occasional product and 17% bought a product for the first time.

When it comes to price, the picture is not wholly positive. While a quarter of shoppers check prices before they arrive in store, only three in ten say they believe confectionery at the airport is cheaper than on the high street, which is the lowest of all categories. 

Around 18% of non-buyers in confectionery did not buy because they thought airport prices were more expensive.

“A great confectionery offer is the perfect way to catch the attention of shoppers, and appeal to the gift buyer as well as those looking to treat themselves,” says TFWA president, Erik Juul-Mortensen. 

“Brands, retailers and airports could consider how they engage the customer and raise the perceived value of the category – whether that’s with appealing and exclusive products or attention-grabbing promotions – if they are to continue to drive sales in this core category.”


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