INTERNATIONAL. Swiss research agency m1nd-set has highlighted the largest markets for share of duty free sales in 2018 in its latest forecast.

China will continue to lead the way with a 13.2% share. It recorded +3% growth in outbound traffic over the past 12 months, and will see a +5% increase in international departure traffic in 2018, according to m1nd-set. China will account for 6% of global traffic over the next 12 months.

Source (all charts): m1nd-set
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South Korea will be the second largest market with a 5% share of global duty free spend next year, but will represent only 3% of international traffic. The outlook is positive, m1nd-set said, with the outbound market having risen +16% in the past year and set to grow a further +9% next year.

The UK will be third with a 4.3% share. The country’s outbound market is the second largest, representing 8% of global traffic over the next 12 months, but will see “very stagnant” growth in 2018. This is in stark contrast to 2017, when UK outbound traffic grew + 10% on the previous year.

France will have a 3.5% share. The French outbound market will account for 4% of international traffic in 2018, and will grow +3% in the next 12 months, according to m1nd-set. This is significantly slower than the +7% increase recorded over the past year.

Japan, the fifth largest market in terms of global duty free sales at 3.4%, will represent 3% of international traffic over the next year. Traffic will be up +5% on last year, which is considerably slower than the previous 12 months, when outbound traffic grew + 10%.

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M1nd-set’s forecast for traffic and travel retail shopper behaviour in 2018 was compiled using its Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S). The air traffic forecasting tool was developed with IATA and ARC’s ‘Direct Data Service’ (DDS) database. The DDS programme is based on travel agency sales data captured through ARC and IATA’s financial settlement systems and ticket sales contributed by participating airlines. The Moodie Davitt Report has entered into an exclusive agreement with m1nd-set to publish similar insights related to airport tenders.

The forecast also uses data drawn from almost 50,000 face-to-face interviews with travellers at airport departure gates around the world.

Shopping behaviour

The new report also reveals that Chinese shoppers top the charts in terms of both their shopping rate and average spend in duty free shops. Some 41% of Chinese travellers say they shop at duty free shops while travelling, and they also spend more than other nationalities, m1nd-set said. China is well ahead of India, the second place market in terms of average spend.

South Koreans are also prolific shoppers with 39% of all travellers buying from duty free shops. They also spend more than average compared to other nationalities. British travellers are significantly less likely to shop in duty free with only 16% doing so. Over one fifth (21%) of French travellers, and one third of Japanese travellers, shop in duty free.

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The B1S report also identifies the five key customer segments within each nationality market segment, based on m1nd-set’s customer segmentation model. The findings underline the behavioural differences between markets. M1nd-set commented: “[This demonstrates] the need for marketing and sales teams to understand the different behaviour within the sub-segments, treating each shopper nationality as individuals, rather than adopting a cookie-cutter approach to all Chinese or Koreans for example.”

M1nd-set CEO and owner Peter Mohn said of the 2018 forecast: “Our role is to help our clients understand the traveller profile for all important airports, their precise traffic growth forecast, the key source markets for their outbound and inbound passengers and the shopping behaviour of those shopper profiles.

“As savvier shoppers expect brands and retailers to understand exactly what they need, when and where they need it, this type of data analytics helps the industry meet those demands.”

NOTE: For more information on the Business 1ntelligence Service reports, contact m1nd-set by email at or by telephone at +41 21 925 5025.