SEPANG: Cosmetics are catching up with liquor and tobacco as the best-selling items in Malaysian airports, thanks to Chinese travellers.
Just last year, the cumulative average spending by Chinese travellers in Malaysian airports came up to RM110mil.
Each Chinese national splurged about RM1,700 for shopping at the Sepang, Bayan Lepas, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching airports.
Malaysia Airports commercial services senior general manager Mohammad Nazli Abdul Aziz said the Chinese were the biggest spenders in travel retail, especially in the cosmetics category.
“Travellers in general have always preferred buying liquor and tobacco in airports as the products are duty-free.
“However, cosmetics are overtaking liquor and tobacco as their favourite purchases,” he said.
Mohammad Nazli said there was positive growth in retail activity involving cosmetics in Malaysian airports last year.
“Although we are pleasantly surprised, I wouldn’t say we did not see this coming. Cosmetic products are a favourite among Chinese tourists.
“We’ve also been seeing an increase in Chinese passengers due to government efforts to make it easier for them to obtain visas,” he said.
In addition to the eVisa and visa waiver programmes for Chinese tourists introduced by the Government in March 2015, he said the growth of low-cost carriers in Malaysia had also made it easier for them to visit the country.
“It’s also cheap to travel to Malaysia. You can come to Malaysia and get to stay at a five-star hotel for a fraction of the price compared with other regions. With our currency, it is cheaper to shop for international brands in Malaysia.
“I think it plays a role in attracting Chinese tourists to this country. They know the kind of value and brands they could get here,” he told reporters after the launch of the NARS standalone boutique at the Satellite building of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here.
This is the first time the brand is being introduced to Malaysian travel retail.
“It is timely for this brand to be introduced in KLIA, as Malaysia is now one of the major destinations for Chinese tourists,” he said.