Chinese passengers are the most digital-savvy consumers when it comes to travel retail, using online portals to research products and make price comparisons even before reaching the airport.
A report compiled by the Duty Free World Council (DFWC), which covered the 2016 fourth quarter, said 50% of Chinese shoppers sought information regarding duty-free shopping before travelling, compared to the global average of 27%.
Some 53% of Chinese travellers used wifi during their airport stay, said the report, 25% higher than the global average. In addition, the Chinese are most likely to access smartphones in airport retail outlets, while Europeans are the least likely consumer group to do so.
What did Chinese passengers research? Product information. Searches related to generic information online, and getting approval from family and friends via social media.
Finally, price comparison was the other major searched for component in travel. Most Chinese passengers liked to cross-reference the travel retail prices with those on online and in malls, ensuring the product wasn’t cheaper elsewhere.
The global satisfaction index showed an overall gain of 1% on the third quarter in 2016, compared to Asia Pacific, which saw a 2% gain on the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the Middle East and Africa region saw a 1% drop in overall satisfaction.
According to the report, the satisfaction level indicators of the duty-free shopping experience have evolved. Service level has moved up the ranks from fifth to third place, while products suitable for gifting entered the top five criteria for the first time. This was seen with the percentage of travellers who believe duty-free is the right place to purchase gifts, with a 37% increase in the quarter.
Finally, the concept of duty-free being part of travel is still the most commonly felt perception for duty-free shopping, as recognised by 43% of travellers. The DFWC report was compiled from interviews with over 4000 travellers across all major world regions during the specified period.