August 7 2018  |  Industry News

Canadian airport sales in May see good gains in core product categories – Air4Casts

By Mary Jane Pittilla

The Canadian Border Services Agency has released May's airport duty free sales volumes. In total they grew marginally by 0.17% to C$37.3 million.

Yet May's Canadian international air passenger growth was comfortably in excess of 8% with almost 3 million passengers departing on international flights out of the country's 16 international airports.


According to Air4Casts analysis, the apparently sluggish May sales performance is attributable entirely to sales from categories outside the top five core product groups.

Sales for the top five product categories together totaled C$31.1 million in May and increased by 11.8% over May 2017.

The Liquor, Beauty and Tobacco categories all made good gains in value terms and the accessories category, which includes sunglasses, shone very brightly indeed, Air4Casts said.


Liquor sales increased by 4.1% year-on-year to C$7.4 million, while sales of cosmetics and fragrances were up 7.2% to C$14.4 million and tobacco-related products put on a robust increase of 12.5% to reach C$3.6 million.

Food products, including confectionery, grew more moderately at just under 2% but the accessories category was the star performer, up by a massive 84% over May 2017 to overtake tobacco in value terms.

Taken together, these top five categories represented over 80% of total airport duty free sales in May and their near 12% sales value increase is comfortably in tune with the 8% international air passenger increase.

Air4Casts said: “What pulled the sales sharply downwards in May were large year-on-year declines from the sixth and seventh ranked jewelry and clothing categories in particular.”


Sales of jewelry and watches fell by almost a third in May to C$2.8 million. Worst hit were travel and office supplies, down 72%, while souvenirs were also out of favor to the tune of a 50%-plus decline.

In the smaller categories, beer sales were down, but a notable positive was electronic items, up threefold in sales terms over last year.

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