Moodie Davitt snapshot: Lotte Duty Free at Incheon International Airport T2 highlights
– Flagship store features six liquor & tobacco boutiques – a first for Korean duty free
– Ballantine’s, Johnnie Walker, Royal Salute and Hennessy boutiques to feature regular tastings
– Two e-cigarette boutiques: KT&G’s the Lil; Philip Morris International’s IQOS; and an e-cigarette ‘smoking’ zone
Heavy emphasis on exclusives and limited editions (Hennessy Édition Particulière; Royal Salute Flask Edition; The Ballantine’s Limited Tester Pack; The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition)
30.7m-wide, 2.6m-high media wall – largest in airport world
– Strong focus on local confectionery brands, including popular artisan brand Cacao Boom

– Passengers can view chocolate-making process through media wall, then sample

– Intensive launch promotions

Source: The Moodie Davitt Report

SOUTH KOREA. Four spirits and two e-cigarette boutiques; a tasting bar; an electronic cigarette smoking zone; an interactive chocolate-making experience; the airport world’s biggest media wall. Get ready for a liquor, tobacco and confectionery store like you’ve never seen before as Lotte Duty Free gears up for the 18 January opening at Incheon Airport’s new Terminal 2.

As we reported last April, the Korean travel retail giant secured the major liquor, tobacco and packaged foods concession at T2.

Lotte Duty Free claims that its offer at the South Korean gateway’s new terminal will include “the world’s best liquor  and tobacco” store.

Boutique breakthrough

Lotte said it will feature 130 liquor, tobacco and food brands over some 426 pyeong (1,408.26sq m) of space. The offer will include several firsts and exclusives, it pledged.

Lotte Duty Free CEO Jang Sun-wook will formally open the shops on 18 January.

The flagship store comprises six brands presented in boutique style (pictured below)– Ballantine’s, Johnnie Walker, Royal Salute and Hennessy from the liquor category, plus Korean tobacco house KT&G’s Lil  (an electronic cigarette brand) and IQOS (the Philip Morris International e-cigarette brand) for tobacco. The boutique format is a first for Korean duty free.

The flagship store includes a tasting bar. Johnnie Walker will bring a professional bartender to the opening day.

Focus on first, exclusives, limited editions and consumer engagement

Exclusives include the US$27,700 Hennessy Édition Particulière and Royal Salute Flask Edition. Limited editions include The Ballantine’s Limited Tester Pack, created to celebrate the T2 opening, and The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition, restricted to just 2,000 bottles

Lotte will become the first Korean airport retailer to offer an electronic cigarette zone. As mentioned, this will feature KT&G’s the Lil brand, making its airport debut, and Philip Morris International’s much talked-about IQOS (the latest incarnation of the tobacco giant’s HeatStick concept).

The tobacco area will even include a ‘smoking’ area for electronic cigarette smoking.

Lotte Duty Free said it plans to enhance the customer experience with a range of promotional spaces and events, including tours and tastings.

See chocolate, eat chocolate

The confectionery and food area will also see a range of innovations, led by an event zone called ‘Sweets’. The department will feature a range of brands, including Cacao Boom, which is being introduced to the duty free market for the first time.

Cacao Boom is a luxury handcrafted chocolate brand developed by Go Young-joo, a first-generation chocolatier who trained in Belgium. Her chocolate has proved sensationally popular since she opened her first store near Hongik University in Hongdae, Seoul. It offers a range of international flavours such as gianduja, kirsch, marzipan, coffee and orange together with uniquely Korean tastes such as chestnut & honey, and Moonbaesool, a traditional Korean spirit said to taste like wild pear.

Spirit of innovation: Lotte Duty Free is presenting four of the world’s great liquor brands in a pioneering boutique format

The brands will offer regular tastings, and consumer engagement and education via a giant media wall

Size matters

The centre of the store will feature a 30.7m-wide, 2.6m-high media wall, which Lotte Duty Free said will be the biggest in the airport world. The installation is in line with Incheon International Airport Corporation’s ambition that T2 should be the world’s most advanced smart airport.

Lotte said it has created a “luxurious and dreamy atmosphere” through the media wall. It will use motion graphics (digital animation which creates the illusion of motion or rotation) to bring products to life and to underscore the connection between travel and shopping.

Lotte Duty Free is offering a special gift for 118 people in symbolic commemoration of the opening on 18 January. Other prizes include pre-paid shopping cards, and a complimentary Swarovski pen for those spending over US$200.

Footnote: Terminal 2’s opening comes amid a thaw in South Korean-Chinese relations. Chinese tourism slumped by -49.9% in the first 11 months of 2017 due to Chinese outrage at South Korea’s deployment of the US anti-missile system THAAD in March.

Nonetheless, Icheon International Airport posted all-time high duty free sales of US$2.1 billion in 2017, a +4.1% rise over 2016. While sales failed to keep pace with a +7.6% rise in passenger traffic, the result was surprisingly positive given the deeply challenging environment.

The result returns the South Korean gateway to number one airport duty free sales location worldwide, ahead of Dubai International, where Dubai Duty Free sales reached  US$1.93 billion last year.

Other T2 concessionaires are The Shilla Duty Free, which won the main perfumes & cosmetics contract, while Shinsegae Duty Free will run the principal fashion & accessories concession. SM, Entas Duty Free and CityPlus won the contracts set aside for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)