Renowned for its distinctive range of bags, Italian brand Coccinelle is an influential player in the fashion & accessories category both on the high street and in sales to travellers. The company’s Head of Travel Retail, Emanuele Mazziotta, shared his thoughts on the current state of the market.

Emanuele MazziottaIs the market up, down or static versus 12 months ago?

Emanuele Mazziotta: Preliminary figures for 2017 from Generation Research show very positive results for duty free and travel retail. The channel grew 8.1% globally to reach US$68.6 billion in 2017, with Asia Pacific, the lead region, rising 11.6%. Fashion & accessories was the third best-performing category at +5.9% versus 2016. Despite the current geopolitical and macro-economic situation worldwide and the risk that digitalization poses to travel retail overall, 2018 looks like being another promising, positive year for our industry. 

What are travellers looking for today?

Travellers seek experiences and emotional engagement, something to make their hearts beat faster. Stores in duty free and travel retail need to reflect domestic stores in terms of product assortment, display and service. Airport authorities and retailers must work together with brands to offer end customers the best service ever. It’s all about what I call the ‘retailization’ of our channel - achieving the full retail potential of the business, optimising sales by connecting brands to shoppers though innovative thinking. That involves branding from the shelves outwards, viewing travel retail from a domestic retail perspective.

What are retailers talking about right now?

In a word, retailization of the channel. Fashion & accessories is a complex category where brands should be grouped properly together by passenger profile and all parties need to remember the importance of staff training. Customer service is key and sales staff must be able to explain the essence of the brand and its products to end customers, who are increasingly value-conscious. Competition is intense between brands, so customer service is vital to succeed. Visual merchandising is another crucial factor.

What's happening in your own business currently?

At Coccinelle, our products are designed to be part of daily life for contemporary women. They celebrate their natural confidence and ‘Gioia di Vivere’ (joy of living) while remaining accessibly priced. The brand continues to develop its global duty free and travel retail business with store openings every month at airports (such as Frankfurt, Moscow Sheremetyevo, El Salvador and Kuala Lumpur), in downtown duty free malls in cities like Busan and Taipei, and aboard cruise ships. Our new store concept in two primary colours, Coccinelle Graceful Pink and Coccinelle Elegant Gold, is welcoming, casually stylish and understated, enhancing the shopping experience and celebrating ‘Gioia di Vivere’.