October 4 2019  |  Retailers

All aboard MSC Cruises’ experience retail wonderland

By Mary Jane Pittilla

MSC Cruises Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway introduces the new Venchi chocolate bar onboard MSC Seaview

One hundred travel retail industry guests were welcomed aboard the MSC Seaview cruise ship moored in Cannes during the TFWA World Exhibition.

Suppliers, partners and brands toured the MSC Cruises’ retail stores, theatre, swimming pools, gym, spa, casino and other facilities.

Notable guests on the visit included Gebr Heinemann co-owner Claus Heinemann and Heinemann Americas Inc CEO Nadine Heubel. Gebr Heinemann is a wholesale supplier to MSC Cruises in perfumes and cosmetics and confectionery.

In a wide-ranging presentation, MSC Cruises Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway said that cruise retail was a fast-growing part of travel retail, but emphasized its complexity and the need for adaptability.

The key is to specialize in the needs of the passenger and focus on specific types of selling, he said, adding that cruise retail was very different from selling at airports.

He described cruise retail as “experience retail” with a “close partnership business model”. He said it was not a gifting opportunity, but a buy now, wear now, use now model.

Half of the retail revenue tends to be generated by passengers on the final day of their tour.

He stressed that the cruise shops have to offer the best price. “If we’re not the best price, there’s no sale. Price is king,” he said.

Big-name brands are carried in the perfumes and cosmetics category

The cruise market share in 2019 is made up of 34% Caribbean destinations, 17% Mediterranean, Asia Pacific at around 14%, and other destinations making up the rest. In 2019, 30m people are expected to take a cruise as part of a US$134 billion industry.

Some 12 million cruise passengers are Americans, with the Chinese as the number two market. Cruise holidays are also enjoyed by Germans, the British, Italians, Canadians and Brazilians, among others.

The industry is growing into new areas, said Pittaway, citing South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

A JBL promotion in Seaview’s duty free shop has been very successful

MSC Cruises has a 7.2% market share, offering 211 destinations on 16 ships, and is forecasting 5 million guests per year by 2027. Between 2017 and 2027, 17 new ships will join the Italian company’s fleet, with four additional ship classes.

MSC is the most multinational cruise line in the world, with more than 170 nationalities. It focuses on the Caribbean and Asia, but cruises on five continents, with number one market positions in South America, Africa and Middle East/Dubai.

In an ambitious move, MSC Cruises is soon to open a marine reserve called Ocean Cay in the Bahamas, which will serve its vessels in the Caribbean.

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