The Independent Traveller Segement

The Independent Traveller Segement


Marketing to Chinese travellers is at the centre of all travel retail stakeholders’ strategies. Understanding shifts in travel trends is paramount to maximising the reach of marketing campaigns. While group travel among outbound Chinese travellers has been a dominant market segment, a recent report by Travel information service ‘Skift’ reveals that the independent Chinese traveller is gaining importance. This reason for this shift, according to this article on China’s luxury magazine website “Jing Daily”, is the sophistication of the younger Chinese generation consumers who are becoming more worldly wise and confident. The article reports that around 75% of these independent travellers are between the ages of 25 and 44. Independent travellers are more intent on organising their own itinerary also, which presents a fresh set of challenges to brands. They will still be intent on shopping, according to the report, but marketers will need to target them in new ways.

Wooing Chinese luxury consumers on social media

Wooing Chinese luxury consumers on social media


Understanding the myriad of possibilities to reach luxury consumers on social media in China is no easy task. This article by China marketing experts “China Edge” reveals how some of the world’s leading luxury brands are approaching the challenge.
From China’s social media giants like Sina Weibo to relative new comers like WeChat, the article looks at which brands are where and provides some best practice tips on how brands should use the sites. The article reveals techniques such as means to ensure consumers know that brands’ social media pages are indeed authentic, and even gives advice on how many posts per day brands should make on Chinese social media sites.

Social Mobile Asia

Social Mobile Asia


Cambodia was reportedly the first country in the world where the number of mobile phones surpassed landlines. In Vietnam, 9 out of 10 people access the web from mobile phones. With the fast-growing middle classes across emerging Asia accompanied by rapid technology adoption, some Asian markets are seeing a “techno leap frogging” culture. As this article “The Asia Factor” explains, on the Web in Travel website, emerging markets in Asia are evolving in very different ways to how the West has evolved over recent decades. This has obvious implications for the duty free industry when targeting travellers within Asia. Another post on the website, from a brand-community site “Brand Karma” discusses how the social media phenomenon of video and photo sharing is far more prevalent in Asia than in other regions, also due to the high penetration of smartphones.

Welcome to Jazlyn

Welcome to Jazlyn


APTRA welcomes a new administrative officer from this month. Jazlyn Koh takes over from Sandra Cheong who has left the association to pursue other professional opportunities.

Jazlyn has over 10 years’ work experience across a variety of sectors including the retail industry, with roles in customer service as well as in administrative work.
She can be contacted at the following email address:[email protected] or by phone on +65 6214 1775 / Mobile: +65 868 60606.

In the spotlight: Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill, Director, Asia Travel Retail, The Edrington Group & Board member of APTRA

Meet Ryan


This month we put the spotlight on The Edrington Group Director of Asia Travel Retail, Ryan Hill. Ryan was elected to the board of APTRA in 2012 and has been actively involved in the advocacy committee, taking part in discussions on APTRA’s role in this sector to help develop this core mission for the association.


Ryan, how long have you been in the duty free industry and with The Edrington Group?

RH: I’ve been in the industry since 1998, so 15 very enjoyable years now and the last 7 of those with Edrington.

Where were you working before?

RH: After travelling around India and Asia for a year, I spent 6 years at Paton’s in Melbourne Australia,(working for one of my best mates – Rob Paton), responsible for developing all domestic and duty free business outside of Asia. It was a tremendous learning curve, building an export business from almost zero.

How did you get involved in duty free initially?

RH: I was thrust into the world of duty free via an American gift company called Russ Berrie, looking after export markets in Asia, the Americas and North Africa. One of my first duty free shows was exhibiting Chinese manufactured soft toys at a convention in Beijing (some people will remember the first china duty free conference) and selling them to the 150 outlets direct from Southampton in the UK!

How does the duty free industry compare to other sectors you have worked in?

RH: Duty free is a great business to work in. There are some wonderful people from all walks of life with many tales to tell and songs to sing. There is a genuine tangible energy about the industry when it gets together – it’s like having a big extended family. The industry has also proved to be incredibly resilient, pulling through tough times such as 9/11, SARS and abolition in Europe to name a few.

Tell us a bit about your family and personal life. How do you balance life in the industry with home?

RH: Like most people in this business I travel a lot, in fact right now I’m in the back of a taxi on the way home from the airport in hong kong having been in Australia and New Zealand all week. Weekends are all about maximising time with the family, watching the kids play rugby, exploring Hong Kong and going trail running whenever I get the opportunity to exercise (which is never enough). My job has allowed me to quench my thirst for travel as well as raise money for a couple of charities recently – the industry is amazing at giving back.

The company, in brief

Can you give us some background on The Edrington Group, the company’s history in duty free and its development in the Asia Pacific region?

RH: Although we operate like a public company, Edrington is privately owned by the Robertson Trust. Every year millions of pounds are donated to charities in the UK and around the world. Currently 60% of our approximate 3,000 staff are now employed outside of the UK, 2000 of which are in the Dominican Republic working at Brugal, a company which Edrington acquired a majority shareholding in, back in 2008. Brugal is a leading producer of Golden Rum in the Dominican Republic.

The origins of the company go back to the mid-nineteenth century, when William Robertson founded the Robertson & Baxter Company in Glasgow. The Robertson family also founded Highland Distillers in 1887. In 1999, Edrington acquired Highland along with its iconic brands Famous Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park.

The acquisition of Brugal in 2008 diversified the company’s portfolio Beyond Scotch Whisky for the first time and so we now have access to one of the fastest growing global spirit categories. In April 2010, Edrington acquired the Cutty Sark brand from Berry Bros & Rudd, with whom we already had a long trading relationship.

Duty free is an area of rapid growth for the business as we are fast developing our distribution in the emerging markets of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. I am proud to say that our India and Asia Pacific business has evolved into the company’s number 1 duty free region.

Which are the key markets in duty free and travel retail for the group’s brands ?

RH: The Famous Grouse core market is Europe, whereas, The Macallan is Asia Pacific.

What initiatives has the company undertaken in terms of marketing/product development that is specific to duty free and travel retail and have these been successful?

RH: Edrington has been very innovative over the years and recognises the importance of the duty free channel for brand building. For example, both Highland Park and The Macallan have duty free exclusive product ranges, which have proved extremely popular with consumers and retailers.

What are your ambitions for the Edrington Group in the duty free industry today?

RH: To keep growing, trying new ideas, learning and keeping the channel exciting for all consumers.

Industry representation…

What do you perceive to be the key challenges to the duty free and travel retail industry today and specifically to liquor category?

RH: Strict government restrictions are already in place on alcohol and tobacco in many countries globally. The anti-corruption campaign in China demonstrates that luxury brands are also now very much in the spotlight. Many purchases happen in the duty free channel across multiple categories – watches, accessories, fashion and liquor.

How can brand owners help address these challenges?

RH: It is very important for all brand owners to join APTRA so that we have a cohesive voice and meet the challenges that we’re presented with. There will always be challenges to the industry.

What other services to the industry do you think APTRA and the duty free & travel retail associations can provide to further develop and protect the interests of the industry, beyond advocacy, training, research and conferences?

RH: A mobile app of course!

Finally, how do you see your role as a board member of APTRA? What are your ambitions for the association?

RH: Our duty as board members is advocacy for both the association and the global duty free industry. We must convince the skeptics on the relevance the channel plays in the global commercial marketplace. We should also ensure we work towards a broader industry Code of Conduct, constantly driving to ensure we’re operating fairly, consistently, transparently and with the utmost integrity.

APTRA’s revised code of conduct receives further endorsement

APTRA’s revised code of conduct receives further endorsement

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Four major liquor suppliers and have joined the list of other leading alcohol manufacturers to endorse the self-regulatory code of conduct which the association launched in 2012.

Ian Macleod, Société des produits Marnier Lapostolle, Patron Spirits and William Grant & Sons, have all recently joined the nine other alcohol brand owners, (Bacardi, Beam, Brown Forman, Camus, Diageo, International Beverage, Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau & The Edrington Group) further underlining the importance and necessity of the code. In addition, one retailer, Gate Retail Onboard, a new member of APTRA, has also endorsed the code.

APTRA will continue to approach other suppliers to seek endorsement from other companies that have not yet expressed their support, including both suppliers and retailers. The code recently underwent a revision to make it clearer, more concise and more in line with the duty free retail environment. The revised code and list of endorsing suppliers and retailers can be found in the Advocacy section on the APTRA website.

A Colorful addition to APTRA’s membership

A Colorful addition to APTRA’s membership


APTRA is pleased to welcome Dutch fashion, cosmetics and accessory company Colorful Licenses to its membership. The company was created in the 1990s to manage licences for a number of global brands. The company has enjoyed a successful growth rate since its creation both in terms of size as well as the products and services it offers. Today it manufactures luxury and lifestyle brands, cosmetics, bags and other accessories for a number of internationally renowned brands. Among the brands it produces are Oilily and Brunotti and has today around 100 point of sales in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

For more information about Colorful Licences: .

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : non-buyers

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : non-buyers


The second Asia Pacific consumer insights report, courtesy of m1nd-set, looks at non buyers in duty free shops. Once again, the comparison is made between Chinese and other Asian travellers. While, Asian travellers are price sensitive when shopping in duty-free shops at airports – 71% of them claimed they didn’t buy anything due to the high prices (compared to downtown), Chinese travellers are an exception to this main and very common reason for not buying. The main reason Chinese travellers do not purchase in duty free shops is the reluctance to carry more items. Chinese non-buyers would be attracted by special items (not found elsewhere), promotions and sales, offering an appealing accessory with the main purcase, quantity discounts and of course, by savings guarantees.

Detailed charts illustrating these findings can be found in the members’ only section of the APTRA website. In the next edition, the report will look at buyer behaviour in duty free among Chinese and other Asian travellers.

Generation Index Asia Pacific: June 2013 report online now

Generation Index Asia Pacific: June 2013 report online now


While growth is still strong in Asia Pacific over the first half of 2013, there is a marked slowdown from 2012… this report from the Generation Index Asia Pacific discusses some of the causes behind the trend, highlighting the evolution of the Chinese outbound traveller profile as one such influencing factor. The report is now available in the members’ area of the APTRA website. For further detailed information and insights on developments in the sales and market shares of categories, channels, countries, locations, companies and brands in Asia Pacific – please contact [email protected] or Malin Eriksson on +46 660 103 20.

Namaste: India opens up visa on arrival

Namaste: India opens up visa on arrival


As reported earlier this year, India softened its approach to visitors from eleven countries to attract more foreign visitors. The government has now decided to extend this programme to 40 countries enabling tourists to obtain a visa on arrival. With the Indian currency falling, and inbound arriving tourist numbers also dropping in the wake of the gang rape scandals that shook the country in recent months, the government decided it had to adopt the measures to offset the negative effects on India’s economy. But as this article in the Arabian Business reveals, no timeline has been set for the introduction of the new regulations.