Airport Retail Sales Rocket

Airport retail has been rising over recent years and the statistics being released of last years figures and Q1 2018 are showing the positive trend is still strong. We are seeing sales and passenger numbers increasing hand in hand – retailers enjoying high levels of sales and the entire airport experience truly advancing.

This increase in sales seems to be an international trend which is great to see for the industry. In 2017, Zurich airport enjoyed a 6% revenue rise from retail, tax and duty-free in comparison to the previous year. In Q1 this year, Dubai Duty-Free sales have increased 11% and Heathrow has reported a +5.4% rise in retail revenue, reaching £156m and a record number of 17.7m passengers in the same period!

In March 2018, Liverpool John Lennon Airport saw passenger numbers increase by 7% in comparison to March 2017. Manchester airport saw a 4% growth over the same period and with the £1bn transformation programme underway, this figure is expected to increase significantly!

WHSmith has reported a 5% profit increase from their travel operations in the six months to the end of February 2018 to £41m. The company also reported that last year, they generated higher sales from travel shops than high street stores for the first time in its 225-year history! These statistics are a brilliant demonstration of the boom in airport retail sales!

The ongoing growth in passenger numbers is making airports increasingly attractive to retailers. The growth’s allowing airports to develop their offering, welcome a diverse mix of brands and enhance the passenger experience. With the current threats towards bricks and mortar and online becoming increasingly strong competition – airport space is becoming increasingly sought after and proving highly lucrative.

Airports boast a captive audience which often has a different mentality. Consumers are commonly in the ‘holiday mindset’ and more lenient with ‘treating themselves’, after all, duty-free allows customers to feel they are getting a bargain or exposed to exclusive products. I know I am guilty of buying some new designer sunglasses to make sure I am ready for the beach on my way to the gate – a purchase that was definitely on impulse, not planned or needed!

In addition to the mix of retailers and consumers willingness to spend, technology is delivering opportunities to maximise the limited time passengers have before going to the gate. An example includes allowing passengers to order products online or via there phones to be delivered at boarding.

With developments being implemented and passenger numbers continuously rising, airport retailers are looking towards a successful future!

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