Retail in Asia

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Highlights: TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference takes off

An important week in travel retail, many in the industry community have returned for TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference, held from 7 to 11 May in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.

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Opening the TFWA Asia Pacific conference on Monday, TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen offered an overview of recent trends and developments in the region.

He also confirmed that the event would be held in Singapore until at least 2026, following agreement with local authorities.


Below, a round-up of presentation highlights from the conference.

Thélios showcases LVMH eyewear collections in TFWA Asia Pacific debut

LVMH Group’s luxury eyewear specialist Thélios is aiming to build its global travel retail (GTR) footprint via a presence at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition in Singapore this week.

At the event, in a private meeting space, the brand showcased eyewear collections from selected maisons including Dior, Fendi, Celine, Givenchy, Loewe, Stella McCartney and Kenzo. 

Examples of the high-quality eyewear from brands on show at TFWA Asia Pacific this week. Source: Thélios

While present in major international markets, Thélios said it plans to grow its business in Asia, particularly in China, as well as the Middle East. Thélios head of travel retail Alessandro Eucaliptus said: “We are targeting Asia’s top regional airports and downtown locations for growth. Luxury destination marketing will be key for Thélios.” 

Brown-Forman highlights super-premium whiskey portfolio at TFWA Asia Pacific

US drinks company Brown-Forman Corporation has rolled out a striking two-floor pop-up for the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition this week. The 200 square-metre space offers immersive multi-sensory experiences, showcasing a wide selection of its American whiskeys and Scotch malts, as well as the company’s latest travel retail-exclusive releases.

Key brands being featured at the show include the famous whiskey Jack Daniel’s.  Among the products highlighted at the pop-up are the flagship brand Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and the new ultra-premium expression Jack Daniel’s American Single Malt. The latter is a global travel retail exclusive set to be released in the second half of 2023.

Other channel exclusive offers on display are Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Travelers series with Sweet & Oaky and Bold & Spicy – a limited edition only recently available in Asia – and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel 100 Proof.

Offering visitors a sensorial experience, a Woodford Reserve sensory lounge is also featured at the Brown-Forman stand.

The lounge offered visitors a “spectacle of the senses” through tasting experiences of the brand’s premium expressions including the ones from its Master’s Collection.

Brown-Forman vice president and global travel retail managing director David Rodiek said: “We are pleased to showcase an exclusive selection of our super-premium brands to our business partners and visitors in our enlarged space at TFWA, offering opportunities for personal interaction while exploring our brands.”

Toasting the launch of a Mercedes Benz trilogy

International New Creative Concepts (INCC), which specialises in the creation, development, marketing and sales of perfume products, has introduced its Mercedes-Benz Land, Sea, Air fragrances for men to the Asia Pacific market.

Created by French master perfumer Anne Flipo, Mercedes-Benz Land, Sea, Air is described as a “tribute to layering”.

The fragrances can be customised, worn separately or combined and are available as individual eau de parfums or as a trilogy, with the packaging combining to form the signature Mercedes-Benz star.

An overview of China’s travel retail sector

Luke Chang, executive vice president of China Duty Free Group, delivered a candid and insightful overview of China’s travel retail sector and how it has been impacted by the pandemic and other more positive influences.

(Left to right) CDFG executive president Luke Chang; Qatar Duty Free vice president, operations Thabet Musleh; SK-II global chief executive officer Sue Kyung Lee; Heinemann Asia Pacific chief executive officer Marvin von Plato; Dufry Asia Pacific president and chief executive officer Freda Cheung and TFWA managing director John Rimmer. Source: The Moodie Davitt Report

“Duty free shop profitability remains significantly lower than the pre-pandemic period, while rental rates at major airports are gradually returning to 2019 levels. The overall global economic slowdown has affected Chinese consumer sentiment, leading to decreased spending. Consumers have become more price-sensitive and their purchases are more practical and rational.

“However, I would like to emphasise that despite these challenges, the Chinese market still presents tremendous opportunities.

“IMF’ (The International Monetary Fund) report of April 11, predicted that in 2023 China’s economic recovery of 5.2 percent will outpace global economic growth of 2.8 percent. UNWTO (the United Nations World Tourism Organization) predicts strong demand for international travel, with worldwide tourist numbers reaching 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels .

“Many countries are actively welcoming back their “old friends”— Chinese tourists. Despite recent softness in consumer sentiments in China, Morgan Stanley’s latest report still predicts that Chinese consumers, will remain the world’s largest consumer group of luxury goods. By 2030, Chinese consumers could account for 60 percent of the total growth in personal luxury spending.”

Underberg targets regional expansion as it returns to TFWA Asia Pacific

German herbal liquor specialist Underberg  is now expanding its travel retail footprint, with a focus on Asia Pacific.

It recently gained new listings of Underberg and XUXU with King Power International Group (Thailand).

Underberg Group head of sales for global travel retail Thomas Kirscht said: “For us, it is important to increase our distribution footprint for our brands and to develop new sales channels. With our brands, we are traditionally strong in the global retail business. We intend to expand this position very specifically in the Asian region in the coming years. We see promising growth prospects there.”

Ferrero highlights new products from key brands

The La Biscotteria concept, which Ferrero Travel Market introduced last year, marks the company’s entrance into the “under-developed” biscuits segment of the global travel retail market. It includes two products from two key brands: Kinder Cards T(2×3) and Nutella Biscuits T12 & T22.

Both products were launched in selected Asian markets this year. However, for many regional buyers the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition represents the first opportunity to experience the products first-hand.

Ferrero travel market general manager Sergio Salvagno said: “Asia is a massive market for Ferrero and while we are still not quite back to pre-pandemic levels, recovery is proceeding, and we are delighted to see our much-valued Asian customers now able to travel internationally again.

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“We are confident that our new biscuit and tablet ranges will be as popular with Asian consumers as they are already proving to be with travellers in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.”

Roll-out plans include airport stores in Singapore and Hong Kong, followed by Seoul, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Shanghai.