Over four decades, Travel Retail has grown to become l'Oréal's "sixth" continent

L’Oréal’s Travel Retail market turns 40 this year. Driven by millennials and Chinese consumers, the Group has steadily grown its leadership on this segment and continues to evolve with a range based around digital technologies and “retailtainment.”


Travel Retail in great shape

L’Oréal is present on all five continents. Over the years, though, the Group has added a sixth in the shape of the Travel Retail segment, whose airport stores give travelers the opportunity to browse a wide selection of L’Oréal products between flights. An incredible showcase for L’Oréal’s makeup, fragrances and cosmetics, Travel Retail is growing fast. Makeup, which goes from strength to strength, is definitely one reason. Exclusive offers such as Looks-On-The-Go travel kits have helped to bolster the rise of L’Oréal Paris, which recently opened its own counter at Paris’s Charles-de-Gaulle airport. But makeup is not the only category propelling Travel Retail onwards. Other flagship L’Oréal products, including Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent and Georgio Armani fragrances, men’s cosmetics and La Roche-Posay and Vichy dermocosmetics, are doing their part to underpin Travel Retail’s growth. In a sign of consumer interest in Travel Retail, airports are welcoming more and more of the Group’s brands. Urban Decay had 48 Travel Retail points of sale at end-2016, and Kérastase has opened 15 salons since the end of 2014 to present its professional care range. 

Digital technologies and retailtainment the recipe for success

While Travel Retail is already making a serious contribution to the Group’s development, the market still has lots of upside through Chinese clients and millennials. The number of Chinese consumers is set to double by 2023 to around 180 million global shoppers . The emergence of low-cost flights and digital will also allow Travel Retail to reach out to a new group: millennials. Catering to the new approaches used by this customer base will entail adjustments based around digital technologies. To give an example, L’Oréal has already set up click-and-collect systems that enable travelers to reserve products, pay for them online and then pick them up at the airport. This type of approach is especially appreciated in Asia, where retailers’ e-commerce websites offer significant sources of sales for Group brands. 
But Travel Retail’s success does not flow solely from smart use of digital technologies. Consumer-centred distribution, premium offers, exclusive gifts and expert consults are the other ingredients in the market’s long-term vibrancy. Another new facet is the introduction of a retailtainment strategy geared to transform point of sales into great spaces to hang out in. In airports nowadays it’s not unusual to see women getting their make-up done, popping into a lip bar, or having a consult with a specialist who can perform a skin analysis using sensors linked straight to the customer’s phone. Nine new airport dermacenters have opened their doors this year. As L’Oréal celebrates 40 years in Travel Retail, the Group plans to hold true to its promise to provide the best in beauty all over the world.