Welcome to my latest travel retail shopping column for DisneyRollerGirl.
As global travel slowly picks up, we look at the business and shopping trends of the travel retail world. In recent weeks we’ve seen a spike in beauty sales in Hainan, China; K-beauty going global and a luxury brand experience with phygital appeal.
Golden Week holiday spending
This year’s National Day Golden Week (1-7 October) holiday in China was all about Hainan and increased domestic tourism to the island resort in the south. The annual autumn holiday period usually sees millions of Chinese spend their week overseas in other nearby Asian countries or in Europe. Traditionally, it’s second only to Chinese New Year for gifting and spending on going out. As global travel is still significantly down for Chinese consumers, they have flocked to the duty free destination, especially after the Chinese government tripled the personal shopping allowance there in July. This year’s week-long holiday saw duty free sales jump up 142.7% year on year to RMB880m ($129.6m).
No wonder then, that we are seeing bigger and bolder brand campaign launches dedicated to the vast duty free shopping space of the Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Complex in Hainan.
A key launch for this year’s Golden Week focus was YSL Beauté’s ‘sustainable retailtainment’ pop-up store to promote its newly launched Pure Shots skincare range. The pop-up drove footfall for visitors to try the YSL Urban Skin Check tool that offered a five-minute AI skin diagnosis and tailored skincare recommendations within the slick glass box made from recyclable retail units. This latest campaign activation showcases how customers are drawn to digital interactive options in a physical environment and can help build sales.
TRP Takeaway: All eyes are on Hainan, as the Chinese resort proves to be a resilient shopping mecca through our inter-Covid times of reduced travel retail activity. The west is watching as big beauty brands launch pop-up activations here ahead of global rollouts.
MAC x BlackPink collab
MAC Cosmetics has named K-Pop star Lisa Manobal of Blackpink as its latest global brand ambassador with a string of product collaborations planned as part of the partnership.
Lisa, as she is known to her 40m+ Instagram followers, has a ‘strong influence on pop culture and speaks to a wide range of audiences both in and outside the beauty world,’ says the cosmetics brand that is known for its challenging brand ambassador choices. MAC and Lisa will collaborate on ‘risk-taking’ product ranges – starting with a Frosted Firework Holiday collection indicative of the K-Pop star’s poised yet trend-setting personal style.
I like MAC’s choice in Lisa – her impactful make-up style talks to a Gen Z demographic that is looking for the nuanced K-Pop aesthetics of Asian beauty but with global appeal. There’s also something about the strong colour palette in the campaign imagery that moves from purposeful purple to fierce fuchsia and says ‘I mean business’.
TRP Takeaway: A clever global ambassador choice that puts diversity and empowerment centre stage for the brand.
Retail theatre is back on the agenda at Harrods. The London department store has just launched an intriguing Panthère de Cartier pop-up, comprising both ‘phygital’ exhibition and retail sales within the brand’s existing 5200 sq. ft in-store space. The multi-room Cartier installation features a series of immersive digital attractions – such as a history of the brand’s muse and former artistic director, Jeanne Toussaint and her ideas around creating the brand motif of the Panthère with its emerald eyes and striking black and white gemstone patterns. A digital corridor displays iconic pieces through the decades, dating from 1914 to 2020. In a separate area, visitors can try on current Cartier jewellery pieces that are cleaned after any physical human contact.
Cartier has ramped up its investment in travel retail spaces in 2019/2020 and this renewed focus on London follows on from the brand’s Into the Wild storytelling installation with Hong Kong retailer DFS last December. The Harrods pop-up launched on 26 October and may now run longer than its original four-week duration, due to the latest national lockdown store closure.
TRP Takeaway: Experiential retail campaigns with a core digital element are key for luxury brands to harness the power of social media combined with tourism footfall.
Rituals for wellness
Dutch beauty and wellness brand, Rituals Cosmetics has opened its first flagship concept store, The House of Rituals in central Amsterdam to commemorate its 20th anniversary. The new holistic lifestyle store is set over four floors and this month the beauty brand known for its ritual-themed skincare, make-up and spa treatment lines, opened the Rituals experiential retail and restaurant floors. Two further floors dedicated to the Rituals mind and spa concept are due to open next summer.
TRP Takeaway: Experiential wellness retail concepts will be brand extensions to note as the wellness movement looks set to continue into 2021, accelerated by the health pandemic.