Airport Retail: Safe Haven for Brands

With airport processes constantly improving and becoming more streamlined, passengers are lengthening their “golden hour” between clearing security and boarding the plane. Liverpool airport is a great example, they reported that 97% of passengers took 10 minutes or less to go through security in August this year.

The reduced wait time means there is a longer period to enjoy an airports retail and F&B offering. This joined with increased passenger traffic is handing airports a massive opportunity to maximize revenue from the increased footfall and extended dwell time.

This year has been tough for many UK high-street retailers with plenty of negative headlines swooping the industry. They are battling with online platforms and constantly pressured to deliver new strategies to prise consumers out of the house and into their stores. However, the airport retail landscape is booming! Airport retailers are enjoying a steady stream of customers who have nothing but time to kill – ready to trial new products and enjoy F&B offerings.

Airport retail revenue is growing at an impressive pace, in H1 2018, Heathrow airport’s retail sales increased by 4.8%, with sunglasses proving to be a particularly popular product!

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has reported an 11.2% growth in retail revenue in the fiscal year 2018. Retail revenue now represents 22.2% of MAG’s total revenue generated from a combined 400,000sq ft of retail space split among 50 operators.

WH Smith’s travel arm reported an 8% increase earlier this year in the period from 1st March – 2nd June 2018. The retailer now has 286 travel stores and is researching further opportunities in the global news, books, and convenience travel market.

The Estée Lauder brand has reported that between 1st April – 30th June 2018, net sales increased by 14% reflecting “especially strong growth” in travel retail.

London Luton Airport is currently undergoing a £160 million redevelopment with a heavy percentage of the investment going towards retail. The airport is doubling the space for shopping and dining and has already welcomed 16 new stores with 30 to open before the end of the year!

Airport retail has a lucrative future – passenger numbers are set to continue rising giving brands greater opportunities to reach new audiences and maximize sales! We’re already seeing plenty of new, innovative strategies to improve the experience such as personalised shoppers and pre-order options – looking forward to what’s next to come!

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