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‘Maximise the opportunity with an engaged audience’ CiR reveals how to please Asian cruisers

Between 2012 and 2014, Asian Cruise passenger numbers expanded at an average annual rate of 34%, driven by strong annual growth of 79% among Chinese travellers. As a result, tour operators have not only expanded passenger capacity, but also tailored services to incorporate high-end shopping to meet the high retail expectations of the Asian cruiser.

As Genting Hong Kong prepares for the November 2016 launch of its new cruise line, Dream Cruises, with the debut of Genting Dream from her dual homeport of Hong Kong and Guangzhou, CiR share research and insight from the Asian Cruise Traveller report. Described as ‘Asian at heart and international in spirit’ the cruise company are aiming for the large and rapidly growing high-end market in China and Asia. Offering ‘inspirational luxury’ the cruise liner aims to deliver the highest levels of onboard guest service and spacious comfort in the Asia region.

Cruise tourism in Asia is buoyant, and both capacity and passenger numbers are in solid growth. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report shows that Chinese passengers account for almost half of the regional passenger volume. Other leading nationalities include Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and India. For destinations, the Asian cruise market has the potential to bring 10.9 million destination days across local communities in 2016. Japan, China and South Korea will welcome the most port calls and highest potential for tourist visits, with Jeju Island, South Korea the taking the most port calls.

CiR research has highlighted four areas where cruise ship operators and on-board retailers can maximise the opportunity for on-board spend amongst Asian cruise passengers.

Potential shopping time far longer than in other travel retail channels

Almost three quarters of cruise trips are between 4 and 13 nights, and over 90% of trips are between 2 and 13 nights. The cruise ship has potential shoppers for far longer than any other travel retail channel. The opportunity to entice, engage and convert is spread over a number of days and multiple visits, rather than in a few minutes. The experience of shopping is different for these consumers, and the opportunity to delight with a full customer service approach is there. Importantly, almost nine in ten passengers plan to take another recreational sea cruise in the next year, so the opportunity is there to make repeat purchases or expand their purchasing repertoire.

Shopping a significant factor in driving cruise satisfaction

Passengers feel positive about their cruise experience with almost nine in ten Asian cruise passengers reporting that the cruise exceeded or met all of their pre-trip expectations. Combined with 97% of passengers reporting that on-board duty free shopping is a significant part of their cruise experience, the role of shopping in the overall cruise cannot be under called. Almost three quarters of passengers will make a purchase whilst on the cruise, further reinforcing how shopping is an integral part of the journey.

Potential for a wider purchasing repertoire

The category penetration of cruise passengers varies considerably to the category interaction that is recorded in other travel retail channels, with Fashion & Accessories recording the highest levels with 46% of buyers making a purchase from the category. Confectionery (41%) and Beauty (40%) are the second and third most important categories, followed by Souvenirs (39%), Jewellery & Watches (37%) and Alcohol (37%). This represents an opportunity to interact with buyers across a greater range of categories that would normally be considered on other travel retail journeys.

Potential to increase spend levels and for brand recruitment

Almost half of buyers report that they have ‘bought a more expensive / better quality brand than I usually buy at home’, which creates the potential to encourage trading up through correct ranging and presentation, customer service interaction and price communication. Reinforcing this, four in ten buyers report buying an ‘occasional brand’ and one in ten buyers ‘buying a brand for the first time’. With a captive audience on-board, who have discretionary spend, the opportunity to engage, entice and trade up is strong amongst this consumer group.

Report Summary

This report presents extensive new intelligence and insight, taken from brand new in-depth research among key nationalities. This report recommends ways to maximise growth in this rapidly expanding channel with detailed insights into Travel Retail offer perceptions (both on-board and in destination), visitor, buyer & non-buyer behaviour, detailed analysis of core categories (including Alcohol, Beauty Confectionery, Tobacco, Fashion & Accessories, Jewellery & Watches, Electronics & Travel Accessories, and Souvenirs), purchase drivers, triggers and barriers, and future motivations and purchase intention in Travel Retail.

This report is based on in-depth research with 800 recent Asian sea cruise travellers and represents essential reading for those wishing to increase sales within this exciting channel. For more details of the report content, please click here.