Why Aren’t People Shopping At Duty-Free Anymore?

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Part of the fun of traveling internationally is the chance to live out your dream of being an adult in a literal candy (and booze, and accessory, and food) store: the duty-free shop. These in-airport retailers have long been a go-to for weary travelers looking to pick up, for example, a Toblerone the size of a small car, but a new report suggests that fewer people are actually making purchases after browsing the store shelves. 

Quartz reports that while duty-free retailers have revamped and expanded their stores in airports — and the products exempt from customs duties — they haven’t been able to capture more sales.

While shoppers spent more than $62 billion last year, it was still a 2% decline in duty-free retail sales. That made 2015 the first year-over-year decline in the industry since 2009.

When the figures are broken down, Quartz reports, the largest decline occurred on pricey watches and jewelry, with sales dipping more than 13.2% from 2014 to 2015. Conversely, fragrance and cosmetic sales actually grew by 2%.

The duty-free organization blames part of the sales slump on a drop in economic and currency volatility.

Issues for the retailers could continue this year, as Quartz points out that long security lines could cut into travelers available shopping time.

People aren’t spending at duty-free stores like they used to [Quartz]

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