Consumers ditched duty-free tobacco and alcohol in 2009

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The Independent Online

Global duty-free sales fell 6.8 percent in 2009, led by tobacco, alcohol and beauty products, according to new figures from duty-free analyst Generation Research.

Around the world, tobacco sales fell 11.5 percent whilst sales of wines and spirits dropped 7 percent on average. Luxury goods sales fell by 6.3 percent and confectionery by 5.6 percent.

Consumers bought considerably fewer beauty products last year, the company said March 22, leading to a 7.2 percent overall drop and a fall of 12.4 percent in Europe and 13.5 percent in the US.

In total, Generation Research estimates that consumers spent $2.5 billion (€1.85 billion) less last year during the economic crisis. Europe was by far the worst performing duty-free market, falling by 13.5 percent. US sales fell by 10.5 percent and Africa by 7.6 percent.

Asia Pacific and the Middle East remained the only bright spots in duty-free shopping. Asia Pacific sales jumped by 4.5 percent ($448m/€331m) and Middle East sales by 3 percent ($73.9/€54.7)

With fewer travelers taking to the skies, airport sales fell by 7.3 percent and lost ground to sales on board ferries, which rose 2.8 percent.

Dubai was the world’s single largest duty-free destination, according to Generation Research, with sales reaching US $1,140 million (€817 million) in 2009.