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REGIONAL REPORT: PANAMA

The soft opening of Motta Internacional’s Trinidad and Tobago store took place in early March 2017

penetration rate is up to 10%. However, an airport like Quito in Ecuador, where people have more time, is seeing a higher penetration rate – up to 20%. Orillac adds that Motta International has benefited from a few new carriers serving Tocumen International Airport, such as Turkish Airlines. The top three product categories in duty free change from airport to airport and from arrivals to departures. In arrivals, liquor is number one and perfumes and cosmetics is number two, closely followed by confectionery. In departures, perfumes and cosmetics is number one, followed by liquor, cigarettes, and confectionery. In terms of nationalities, Brazilians have always been good customers. “When they had the currency crisis in the last couple of years the traffic went down, but they are rebounding back,” says Orillac. “I would say Brazilians are number one, Colombians number two, and Argentineans are number three.”

Major changes in purchasing behavior

In recent years, Orillac has observed a major trend in purchasing habits. Pas-

28  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2017

sengers are now very well informed on prices. Using their smartphones and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the airport, they can check prices worldwide at a click. “The younger crowd, the millennials, they are so good at using cellphones for internet pricing, they know everything,” he says. The use of credit cards as a paying method has also surged. A few years ago, 60% of transactions were made in cash, and now it’s only 25%. That affects the company’s sales as there is bank commission. There’s also a trend among passengers towards buying better products, he notes. “The new generation want to buy the very best; they want the latest product on the market, the most fashionable product on the market. They know exactly which is the latest model. They are very smart shoppers and very well educated. They know what they want and if you don’t have it, they don’t buy it. They travel light, too. They like smaller products they can stick in their carry-on bag, and they have no suitcase.” In response to the changes in customer behavior, Motta Internacional has shaken up its promotional tactics, introducing two new initiatives. The firm used to produce one booklet per month for promotions, but now it issues one booklet every 15 days,

because “customers like to see new things”. The other thing that’s doing very well for the company is the website www.attenza. net, where passengers can pre-order on the internet and pick up and pay at the airport. The company guarantees it will have their package waiting for them at the airport, where their payment is then processed. “That’s increasing every month, and when you look at the age of the shoppers, those 35 and younger make up 80-85% of preorder sales. Passengers aged 35 and older buy physically [in the store].” New listings are introduced all the time, says Orillac, but several products have been a hit in past two years. They include GoPro action cameras – a “fantastic” category, he says – and cellphones. The other popular category is top quality headphones: in ear, over ear, and especially noise reduction. Shoppers are opting for top brands like Bose, priced between US$250 and US$299. One future development that Motta Internacional has its eye on is to provide an inflight duty free service for Copa Airlines, which currently does not operate such a service. “We’ve spoken to Copa about duty free and they’ve got the facts. Motta would love to do it and we have a plan, we’re ready to do it.”

PAX WTCE Hamburg March/April 2017  
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