Duty Free and Travel Retail Industry - Statistics & Facts

Duty free and travel retail is a global industry which specializes in selling products to international travelers. Duty free store sales are tax-free and exempt from excise duties, on the condition that goods are only sold to travelers who will transport them out of the country. The bulk of this industry’s revenues comes from airports, however, duty free and travel retail is also available at border shops, onboard cruises and ferries in international waters, and onboard aircrafts during international flights. In some areas, such as non-EU Europe, Australasia, the Middle East and Latin America, travelers have the option of purchasing duty free goods upon arrival. This trend has become a fundamental source of income for airports. Moreover, duty free and travel retail generates necessary revenues for the travel, tourism, aviation and maritime industries.


In 2015, global duty free and travel retail sales amounted to approximately 62 billion dollars and were expected to reach 85 billion dollars by 2020. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for the majority of travel retail sales in 2015, followed by Europe and the Americas. South Korea, China and the United States topped the list of the leading 25 countries in duty free and travel retail shopping worldwide in 2014.

Dufry was the leading travel retailer worldwide in 2015. That year, the company had access to the largest global duty free and travel retail market. Fragrances and cosmetics were the most popular category in travel retail in 2015, followed by wines and spirits, and fashion and accessories. In 2014, cigarettes were the best-selling single product category.

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