Italian eyewear specialist Safilo Group aims to grow its travel retail business with a three-pillar ‘stronger, better, faster’ strategy.

Head of Travel Retail Frederic Laffort outlined that strategy and his vision for the company at the recent TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

Laffort said that although eyewear accounts for only 3% of duty free sales, it is a fast-growing category that Safilo believes can double in the next three to four years.

“We want to be recognised by our travel retail partners as the best-in-class supplier to drive category value,” said Laffort

“We aim to be stronger by expanding our own core brand portfolio (Polaroid, Carrera, Smith, Oxydo, Safilo, Safilo X) so it represents 40% of our total business by 2020. We also plan to expand our total brand portfolio into more markets where we see big potential, such as the Americas and Asia.”

Secondly, Laffort said, Safilo wants to be recognised by its travel retail partners as the best-in-class supplier to drive category value. That ambition will be driven, he said, by a strong portfolio covering five consumer segments (atelier, luxury, contemporary, mass cool and sport). The ability to engage 360 degrees with consumers, embracing digital, traditional and in-store media will also be key.

“Thirdly, we aim to be faster in catching new opportunities, new trends and bringing to market new innovative solutions to engage consumers differently with eyewear,” noted Laffort.

Frederic Laffort and Trade Marketing Manager Global Channels Maria Valentina Alessi at TFWA World Exhibition

Airport promotions will continue to be a key focus for Safilo. According to Laffort, the aim is to add value through experiences rather than through discounting. “Airports are one of the biggest windows to billions of consumers every year. Global travel retail is a strategic channel to invest in and where we see the eyewear category will grow sustainably in the coming years.

“Our goal is to develop new merchandising solutions which leverage on digital and eye-catching consumer activities, creating new occasions to buy in the airport,” he commented. A good example of this is the Fendi Ape truck campaign, which took place in Asia, and the Polaroid 80th anniversary activation in travel retail EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Promotional vehicle: Laffort believes new merchandising solutions such as the Fendi truck (above) and the Mr Pixel Polaroid promotion (below) create new occasions to buy at the airport

Laffort noted the strength of Safilo Group’s ‘own core brands’, which is a fast-growing segment within the company’s portfolio. “Today, our own core brands segment is showing double-digit growth in sell-out in travel retail, especially in EMEA and LATAM. We are aiming to double that growth again next year.”

“Global travel retail is a strategic channel to invest in and where we see the eyewear category will grow sustainably in the coming years”

Safilo is also experiencing good momentum for its licensed brands, including Havaianas. According to Laffort, the demand for Havaianas in Latin America has been ten times greater than expected.

“Havaianas sunglasses stand for colours, Brazilian joyful creativity and emotions. Latin America represents one of the key markets where the demand has been significantly above expectations. We are experiencing great sell-out trends also in Europe and further opportunities are coming in APAC,” said Laffort.