I’ve arrived home in London after a crazy but wonderful four weeks on the road. Hong Kong, Hainan Island, Seoul, Incheon, London (48 hours), Reykjavik, London (overnight), Orlando. I think my neighbours believed I was a burglar.
Many duty free executives from around the world come here just to view what amounts to a vast, throbbing human laboratory. Lotte Duty Free’s advantage is that it monitors that laboratory each and every day.
Brands’ long-held selective distribution principles have been scattered in the Korean winds – there’s certainly nothing selective about what amounts to a mass redistribution market, a little China of duty free.
Just as the Chinese government is seeking to crack down on, perhaps eliminate, daigou trading, there is the likelihood of more duty free licences here. Really? If that happens, Korea’s duty free chickens will have come home to roost. But they won’t be laying any golden eggs.
Like the distinctly shady looking horse behind me in the BA lounge, I suppose it will be a case of “the neighs have it, the neighs have it.”
How was it that I felt confident enough to take my cannabis oil home? Simple. It’s been stripped of the principal psychoactive constituent (the THC) and is every bit as legal as carrying a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black or 200 Marlboro Lites.
As a sector, travel retail is a serial offender. One that is contributing every day to the Atlantic turning into the Atplastic.
People often ask me where I see the next big opportunity in travel retail. Which market? Which consumers? Which categories? Three days in the Philippines has helped shape my answers. Except I wouldn’t say ‘next’ opportunity. It’s here. It’s now. It’s happening.
“When the wind blows,” was his evocative, very Chinese way of saying that big opportunity lies ahead and that CNSC must be ready.
Many commentators believe there may be truffle ahead in the Year of the Pig but to me that’s hogwash, the sort of prediction I might have made in my younger, rasher days.
I’ve been 32 years in travel retail now, the past 17 at The Moodie Davitt Report, and I can honestly say that I’m bringing as much energy into this one as I did all those years ago in 2002 when we set off on our journey.
We are, above all, an information service. But we are one with a voice. Those factors collectively bestow responsibility on us. Our information must be timely, reliable, accurate. Our voice must be responsible, ethical and selective.
I know the Irish founded the duty free industry but I didn’t realise they a) still populated it in such quantity and b) all had my phone number.