Louis Vuitton airport store

Global sales of duty-free products reached $46 billion in 2011, up a staggering 17.9 percent, calculated duty free analyst Generation Research.

Although the results are still preliminary and currency fluctuations may bring the growth figure down, 2011 may turn out to have been a record-breaking year.

Unsurprisingly, Asia Pacific was the star growth region, with sales rising 22.9 percent and buyers helping to fuel a resurgence in alcohol sales.

Luxury goods sales were up by 20 percent while beauty products rose by approximately 19 percent and tobacco sales were up by 11.6 percent.

The full figures are likely to be released later this year, although sales totals from many of the world’s major airports have already been released this year.

Initial results from Incheon Airport suggest that it has edged past Dubai Duty Free to become the world’s biggest airport seller of duty free, with $1.5 billion in sales.

Duty Free Dubai airport Terminal 3