Sales of wine and spirits in global travel retail (GTR) grew 10.2% in 2018, according to the latest stats from the Tax Free World Association (TFWA), to $4.2 billion, as the sector hit $75 billion..

Wine and spirits currently account for around 6% of total global travel retail sales, according to the preliminary figures from Generation Research presented at the TFWA Asia-Pacific exhibition in Singapore this week, with the sector now worth US$75.7bn in 2018, up 9.3% on 2017.

The rise came in the increasing numbers of people traveling, TFWA president Alain Maingreaud told exhibition, as he warned that spend per person was falling and the sector must fight to attract consumers who are moving online.

“We all know that sales are not growing in line with traffic,” Maingreaud said, adding that “More passengers don’t always mean more sales.”

Customers, he pointed out, are not captive, and the industry needed to make a concerted effort to create a retail experience that offered “the best products at a competitive price sold in a unique environment by staff that make us feel special”.

As well as needing to be more innovative around creating “a sense of place” in Travel Retail, industry stakeholders needed better data sharing in order to deliver a better understanding of travellers and sustained sales growth.

Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region, with sales up 14.2% over the previous year, and likely to account for more than half of all GTR sales within the next two years, with perfumes & cosmetics category also driving the category.

Maingreund replaced long-serving TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen in December.

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