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“Digital technology is transforming and galvanising travel retail,” says Vincent Boinay

“In a highly volatile global market, L’Oréal Travel Retail had a good year and strengthened its leadership in the distribution channel.” The words of L’Oréal Travel Retail Managing Director Vincent Boinay sum up the French beauty giant’s satisfaction in a 2016 performance that flourished despite numerous industry and external challenges.

As part of the group’s digital annual report, Boinay highlighted the advances and influence of social and digital media, noting: “Digital technology is transforming and galvanising travel retail, particularly where millennials are concerned.

“The channel is also becoming more accessible thanks to the development of low-cost airlines, and is growing to handle the surge of new middle class consumers – especially Chinese customers, whose numbers are slated to double by 2023.


In 2016, make-up was travel retail’s most dynamic category, the company noted.

All the group brands contributed to growth, particularly in Asia, where Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani met with “remarkable success”, L’Oréal Travel Retail said, noting that the lip segment had also prospered worldwide, with Lancôme and Shu Uemura spearheaded sales.

L’Oréal Paris continued to expand, underpinned by exclusive offers such as Looks-on-the-Go travel sets. The brand also opened new airport counters, including one at Paris Charles de Gaulle, the company said.

US cosmetics brand Urban Decay flourished too, with 48 travel retail points of sales open by year-end.

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In what the company described as a “lacklustre” travel retail market worldwide, L’Oréal said it had strengthened its position through high-end fragrances such as La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme, Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, and Sì and Code Homme by Giorgio Armani.

The new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, Mon Paris, was featured in a global launch complete with a series of special events. The perfume helped to boost sales of women’s fragrances, particularly in Europe, and has been very successful with Asian consumers, L’Oréal Travel Retail said.

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L’Oréal Travel Retail said that by 2023 there will be some 180 million Chinese global shoppers.

Digital technology will be key to reaching them, the group said. “The travel market is taking full advantage of the possibilities offered by digital technologies,” it commented. “New purchasing methods, which allow consumers to reserve or pay online before they leave for the airport, are boosting sales. This trend is particularly strong in Asia, where distributors’ online shops have become important platforms for L’Oréal’s brands in this channel. As a result, [online travel retail] sales doubled in 2016, significantly expanding a channel that is strategically important for the group.”

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The digital revolution has transformed the way consumers, particularly the Chinese, browse, price-compare and shop


Skincare remains an important category for L’Oréal in travel retail, particularly in the “high-potential” men’s cosmetics segment, the group noted. To celebrate David Beckham’s new role as the spokesman for Biotherm Homme, the brand hosted several special events, setting up barbershops in airports in Barcelona, London and Copenhagen. L’Oréal Men Expert also proved successful with its Male Grooming Club, opened at Singapore Changi Airport.

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La Roche-Posay and Vichy continued to expand in travel retail, underpinned by nine new dermacenters, dedicated exclusively to skincare. At Oslo and Copenhagen airports, the two flagship Active Cosmetics Division brands ran a ‘Healthy Skin under the Sun’ campaign, complete with diagnostics and personalised advice.

Luxury haircare leader Kérastase has opened 15 salons in key travel retail locations since 2014, ideal showcases for sharing its expertise and full range of products with travellers.

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The colour of money: Make-up sales are booming in travel retail, reflecting the major US domestic and online trend, largely driven by social media

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