In what is now the 70th year since the duty free industry started with the opening of the first airport duty free shop at Shannon Airport in Ireland, the industry seems to continue to move forward at amazing speed.

2016 year sales versus 2015 were up 2.4%, with Q1 2017 up 4.2% – so good momentum. Asia Pacific region drives the sales with an increase of 7.8%. Despite the difficult and unpredictable global geopolitical situation people are still travelling.

The IMF forecasts global economic growth at 3.5% in 2017, and 3.6% in 2018, driven by stronger activity in emerging and developing markets. The Millennials may have arrived, but the oldies have not gone away and the single fastest growing group of potential customers is the older Baby Boomer generation nearing or just into retirement.

There is no doubt that 2018 will be an uncertain year thanks to politics in the USA, Europe and the threat posed by North Korea to regional and global stability.
But the key is to think positive, identify less crowded markets and niches and focus.

The Duty Free and Travel Retail sector is here to stay and will continue to expand as new airports are built, airlines buy new planes, cruise industry builds new ships, borders open up, people need to trade and travel to relax and enjoy their life, while realising new experiences in both goods and services.