Heineken Global Duty Free has reported a double-digit year-on-year sales volume increase in its overall duty free business for 2019.

Growth was driven by increased distribution for the company’s portfolio of more than 250 brands in cruise, ferries and inflight.

Growing opportunities: Heineken Global Duty Free team members (from left to right) Kateryna Vasylchenko, Koos Vrijlandt and Veroniek van Duren celebrated the company’s positive outlook at the recent TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes

“The growing consumer trend to drink better continues to open up increased revenue opportunities driven by the demand for premium brands such as those in the Heineken portfolio,” said Global Duty Free Trade & Category Manager Kateryna Vasylchenko.

“There is also notable growth in the demand for low/no alcohol options and this has delivered +73% sales volume growth for Heineken 0.0 [2019 compared to 2018]. Beer and cider consumers are strongly loyal to their favourite brand, however on vacation they are open to trying out new variants. Heineken Global Duty Free offers solutions for this discovery mindset with the rich diversity of its portfolio in beer and cider beverages, with many strong, regionally relevant brands.”

In the inflight channel, Heineken said it now had 38% market share across its portfolio. Double-digit growth was driven in part by listing wins in all regions, including easyJet (in co-operation with Gate Retail), Emirates, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern and Hainan Airlines. In March 2019, Heineken was awarded a five year-contract extension with KLM and Air France as the exclusive beer offering on both airlines. Heineken 0.0 won listings with KLM, easyJet, Eurowings/Lufthansa Group and Jet2.

Sharp rise: Heineken will expand on-ship distribution of its Blade draught solution in the cruise and ferries sector

A dedicated Heineken bar will open in the new KLM lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol airport in November 2019. “This is an important opportunity to showcase ciders, craft beers and lagers from the portfolio to the estimated 1.2 million passengers per year who will visit the bar,” Heineken said.

Looking ahead, Heineken said it expects the long-term inflight trend to be led by established global brands supported by a smaller contribution from craft beer, which currently accounts for 15% of inflight beer consumption.

In the cruise and ferries sector, Vasylchenko expects increased development of new retail space in line with the continued growth in world tourism. “There is a positive outlook for the future of our cruise and ferry business,” she said. “Over 75% of world cruise passengers are from the US and Europe, with Europe predominantly driven by the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.  These are markets where our brands are well known and loved.

“European cruise and ferry travellers are increasingly interested in low/no alcohol beer and cocktails, therefore this category represents a significant growth opportunity for both suppliers and operators. We feel confident playing in this area with our hero Heineken 0.0.  Our proposition will be expanding in the near future with numerous non-alcohol options within our portfolio.”

The global duty free division is also expanding its on-ship distribution of its Brewlock and Blade draught solutions.