Swedish ferry company Stena Line’s revenue from its onboard shops for the first quarter of the year has shown a large increase on its routes between the UK and the EU compared to the same period last year. The growth is due to ‘Duty Free’ sales, which exceeded the company’s expectations. It shows the huge potential the onboard retail sector has to provide a much needed boost to the travel industry after lockdown.
Following Brexit, ‘Duty Free’ sales are permitted onboard ferry routes between the UK and the EU. Passengers can make huge savings, sometimes of up to 60%, compared to high street prices on alcohol, cigarettes and cosmetics, which can all be purchased tax free.
Sales figures from the first three months of 2021 are far outstripping 2020, despite having only half the passengers travelling onboard the company’s ferries. Overall sales on UK – EU routes were 34% higher in Q1 2021, than they were in Q1 2020. These figures were even higher on the Irish Sea where they were up 53%, while they were 14.6% higher on the North Sea. Duty tends to be higher in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, than on the Continent, so there is more incentive to buy tax free.
However, it is the amount that each passenger is spending that is showing the largest increases. On average the amount spent in Stena Line’s onboard shops per person has risen an impressive 80%, as people snap up bargains on the likes of Jameson Whisky, Absolut Vodka and Amber Leaf tobacco.
Stephen Bryden, Stena Line’s Head of Onboard Sales and Services, said: “‘we have invested heavily in revamping and, in some cases, extending our onboard shops so the response is very positive and has outstripped our expectations. Following the large demand that we are experience from people eager to enjoy the savings they can make onboard, the company will now be extending our sales offering even further. The ferry sector has suffered worse than many other sectors as we have remained fully operational 24/7 during pandemic, despite having lower passenger and freight levels, so the boost from ‘Duty Free’ is a welcome side-effect of Brexit not only for us but for all our passengers too.”
Sales of alcoholic drinks highest with popular brands leading the way. For instance on the Irish Sea sales of Jameson Whiskey for the first quarter of this year have outstripped sales for the whole of 2020, despite the much lower passenger levels.Figures are gathered from sales data on Stena Lines four UK routes where ‘Duty Free’ is currently permitted, these includes routes from Wales to the Republic of England and the four routes between England and The Netherlands (see full list below).
Stena Line’s routes where ‘Duty Free’ is permitted
Holyhead – Dublin
Fishguard – Rosslare
Killingholme – Hook of Holland
Killingholme – Rotterdam Europoort
Harwich – Hook of Holland
Harwich – Rotterdam Europoort