The Airport Retail Boom!

When I was younger, my memories of airports are; extensive queues, long wait times and usually sat on the floor desperately waiting or someone to leave their seat.

Now I can’t wait to arrive, and if possible, I plan to get there earlier than needed! With Wi-Fi on arrival, I can use my phone freely and with plenty of shops and bars to entertain myself in, the holiday starts at the airport, no longer when you reach your destination!

Since 2009 travel retail has grown by 12% and according to market research firm Technavio, the global travel retail market is set to continue growing until (at least) 2021!  The number of passengers rising is playing a big part in this but the shift in consumer attitude is also heavily impacting this upturn. Consumers have a ‘golden hour’ between check-in and going to gate to visit the airport retailers – and they are more than willing to spend.

The sunglasses category in travel retail grew over 15% from 2009 to 2014. Sunglass retailers such as ‘The Sunglass Hut’ are having great success using airports as a stepping stone to launch their brand into new countries – the brand now has over 155 standalone stores and kiosks worldwide.

In recent years it has become clear that travellers are much more prone to shop. In 2013, Frankfurt airport operator made on average 3.60 euros revenue per passenger passing through, and with the predicted growth in travel, this number is anticipated to rise year on year!

Heathrow, the 3rd busiest airport worldwide saw sales in excess of £200 million over Christmas 2014. Years ago, I remember leaving the airport with a Toblerone if I was to buy anything at all, now I find myself leaving with new clothes, bags, the lot! Passengers have the opportunity to purchase luxury items at competitive prices – a great opportunity to purchase gifts!

Airport business recently released passenger traffic for 10 different airports – all experiencing development with the highest being Newquay Cornwall Airport receiving 50% passenger growth from the previous year.

With the phenomenal sales and passenger growth across the travel retail industry, it is not surprising airports are developing and more and more retailers are looking for space! Edinburgh airport has expanded with more retailers and has resulted in over 200 new retail jobs being created.

Manchester Airport has recently begun work on its 10-year, £1 billion transformation programme which will include around 50 F&B and retail outlets along with numerous other services. This will allow the airport to accommodate more passengers, resulting in more footfall and sales to travel retailers!

Oslo airport has massively been developing their arrival duty-free. This extension is a great opportunity to really enhance the consumer’s journey; developing the idea of airports becoming shopping centres of the future. It is a great way to capture passenger’s before they leave the airport or enrich the journey if they have a connecting flight.

Airport developments are constant, retailers are pleading for space and with passengers more willing to spend their expectations are increasing – looking forward to seeing what’s next…

Kat Whitehead, Marketing & Operations, Foundation Recruitment

Foundation Recruitment staff portraits

Related Posts

Foundation Insights
Tue 3 Oct
Navigating Real Estate: Julian’s Insightful Session at Bayes Business School

Julian Long

Foundation Insights
Mon 11 Mar
DAY IN THE LIFE – Chris Ward, Shopping Centre Manager.

Julian Long

Foundation Insights
Mon 12 Feb
Building for Sustainability: Unlocking Value with BREEAM Ratings

Julian Long

Foundation Insights
Wed 7 Feb
A DAY IN THE LIFE: PLACEMAKING CLIENTS

Julian Long