Erik Juul-Mortensen, President of TFWA, in his annual summary of the duty free industry at the TFWA Opening Conference in Cannes in October 2014, reviewed how far the industry has grown in the past 30 years.
In 1985, global duty free and travel retail sales were 6 billion USD – just 10% of the USD 60 billion today – with 56.1% in Europe; with wines and spirits accounting for over a third of global sales; perfume and cosmetics lagging behind. “Luxury wasn’t’ even a catalog,” he said.
Today, global duty free and travel retail sales have grown to reach a “staggering” 60 Billion USD in 2013, fueled by a customer base of billions more departing and arriving passengers. The biggest spenders in 2013 were the Chinese, he said, who along spent 129 Billion dollars traveling abroad – about 11% of all who spend on international tourism.
Today, the airports’ share of total duty free and travel retail sales has soared from 37.4% to 57.8%; Europe’s share has fallen from 56.1% to 33.6%, largely to the benefit of the Asian Pacific Region; luxury goods dominate and liquor’s share of sales is about half what it was in 1985.