The retail and duty-free market, undermined by the Covid pandemic, has bounced back. It is now benefiting from a strong recovery in global air travel. Cosmetics and perfume brands are not wrong to take care of their duty free presence to launch new products, build customer loyalty and offer exclusivity. In the travel retail market, BEAUTE LUXE is gaining ground in Africa and Asia. David Dayan, CEO of the company, answers our questions.
Today, BEAUTE LUXE occupies a leading position in travel retail (airports, seaports, on-board sales, etc.). How do you differentiate yourself in the market?
LUXURIOUS BEAUTY is the result of a merger between a leading French travel retail company and one of the largest distributors of Indian perfumes and cosmetics with a significant presence in Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal). This dual expertise enables BEAUTE LUXE to operate not only in Eastern Europe. Within a few years we have become the distribution leader in the retail travel market in Africa. The company now distributes almost 80 prestigious brands such as Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, Paco Rabanne, L’Oréal (…) duty-free throughout the continent.
Over the past year, our business in India has grown significantly and we are on our way to becoming the market leader in paid taxes. To this end, we have opened a number of our own stores in major Indian airports such as New Delhi, Jaipur and Goa and plan to open more in the coming years to support the expansion of our sales footprint.
Planes grounded, borders closed, airports closed, the Covid pandemic stopped aviation for several months. What is the situation today?
The Covid pandemic was unexpected, but the rapid recovery in activity was also a surprise! People are traveling again, the planes are full despite the price increase of around 20 to 40%. This is a real benefit for us. But the clientele has changed: Asian tourists prefer Asia, especially China, to Europe. China also opened the world’s largest duty-free shopping center on Hainan Island, with a floor dedicated specifically to perfumes and cosmetics.
The African market is also booming, with air traffic on the continent increasing significantly. This results in the growth of new airlines and the opening of new routes. Airports are being modernized thanks to major investments, such as Dar el Salam and Zanzibar in Tanzania or the opening of new airports in Zambia and Rwanda. Therefore, brands must adapt to these new trends.
By offering product lines adapted to the passenger profile in each terminal. The “premium” nature of sales premises is also essential, both in terms of design and experience. BEAUTE LUXE “Beauty Advisors” are true experts who respond to the needs and expectations of travelers and are always looking for bargains.
The brands we distribute offer specific duty-free offers, exclusive boxes or new products to attract customers, “create an event” and create desire. Paco Rabanne, for example, launched their new perfume Phantom first in the duty-free market before opening in the local market! It is a global network with a huge reach that no brand can ignore.
Digital transformation is a key issue for retail work. How is BEAUTE LUXE adapting to digitization?
Mobile is truly an essential tool for getting real-time information, discovering our stores, products and exclusives, shopping online and picking up orders at the airport. We work with local operators to improve the digital experience of passengers. Our role is also to create connections between airports and passengers, for example through social networks. Digitization through data collection and analysis makes it possible to offer personalized services and thereby align our offers with European standards, always with regard to the premium nature of the offer.
Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and are looking for environmentally responsible products. Does this translate to travel retail?
Yes, definitely, this is a trend we are seeing. Brands are therefore trying to reduce the use of plastic, minimize waste and prioritize recycled and recyclable materials. At BEAUTE LUXE we are very sensitive to this issue, we try to reduce our carbon footprint during delivery. All our delivery vans in Africa are electric and we design all our sales furniture in an environmentally responsible way, as the African continent is particularly attentive to environmental issues.