China Duty Free Group (CDFG) is Diamond Sponsor of this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference. On May 8, Luke Chang, Executive Vice President, CDFG, highlighted that, despite the challenges, the Chinese market still presents tremendous opportunities.
“The International Monetary Fund’s report predicted that in 2023 China’s economic recovery of 5.2% will outpace global economic growth of 2.8%,” said Chang. “The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts strong demand for international travel, with worldwide tourist numbers reaching 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels. Within China, there were a total of 65 million inbound and outbound travellers in Q1, an increase of 116% compared to last year. We are particularly excited about the rapid recovery of traffic in Hainan. In Q1 of this year, Hainan welcomed 27 million tourists, an increase of 22.5% over last year and 22.1% higher than the same period in 2019. The total sales of offshore duty free shops in Hainan reached RMB 20.3 billion in Q1, growing by 29% compared last year.”
Over the past three years, CDFG has made a lot of efforts to adapt to the changes. “Our top priority is to maintain a continuous connection with our customers,” Chang explained. “One of our goals is to transform our store spaces into destinations that will inspire and delight our customers. For online, we have established a pre-order platform in preparation for post-pandemic new retail business and we have launched online platforms such as the ‘CDF Membership Platform’.”
The ‘Preparing for growth’ session of TFWA Asia Pacific Conference heard from a panel of regional industry leaders on how they are preparing their businesses for the recovery: Luke Chang, Executive Vice President, China Duty Free Group; Freda Cheung, President and CEO Asia Pacific, Dufry; Sue Kyung Lee, CEO, Global SK-II; Thabet Musleh, Vice President, Qatar Duty Free; and Marvin von Plato, CEO, Heinemann Asia Pacific.
Luke Chang explained that 2022 was an extremely difficult year. However, CDFG is proud that it was able to retain all 16,808 of its employees and continue to invest in its long-term strategy.
“We opened the Haikou Xinhaigang Project in October last year and renovated our Haikou and Sanya airport stores,” said Chang. “We also opened two Duty Zero stores in downtown Hong Kong.”
In the post-pandemic era, the demands of Chinese consumers have shown significant changes. “First, more and more consumers tend to use convenient online shopping platforms,” Chang explained. “Second, consumers are becoming more sensitive to prices, and their consumption concepts and behaviours are more pragmatic and rational. Third, consumers are no longer satisfied with simple ‘purchasing’ when they go shopping, but prefer high-value added, personalised, customised products.”
China Duty Free Group’s top priority is to maintain a continuous connection with its customers. “One of our goals is to transform our store spaces into destinations that will inspire and delight our customers,” explains Chang.
For online, CDFG has established a pre-order platform in preparation for post-pandemic new retail business and has launched online platforms such as the ‘CDF Membership Platform’. “We always believe that digital technology online should be combined with offline stores,” says Chang. “Consumers can touch, smell, taste, and try on different products in the shops, and can also communicate and interact with a sales consultant. However, before, during, and after the consumer’s trip, we can use the power of new retail to maintain communication with consumers online. China is leading the trend of the digital world in the retail industry, with live streaming, VR technology, online platforms, and extra, allowing brands and operators to reach a wider range of consumers beyond the scope of offline stores.”
CDFG will continue to improve its existing platforms, while strengthening the synergy and integration of the platforms. “Based on our membership system and big data resources, we will provide more data value-added services to vendors, help consumers make better choices and drive sales,” Chang adds. “We believe that the offline experience is fundamental and irreplaceable for the retail industry. We hope to work closely with our partners to create greater value and open a new chapter in the travel retail industry together.”
Source: ©TFWA Daily