The airport retail business is BIG business!
As enplanements continue to see record growth and more and more airports are positioning themselves as destination locations as opposed to a necessary evil in air travel, retailers and service providers are seizing the opportunity to capitalize on passenger spending. Airports across the US have put their “expansion” plans into high gear as the Covid Pandemic that shut the travel sector down for 2 years has subsided and passenger levels have exceeded Pre-Pandemic levels in most airports.
Why your brand should be in every airport!
- Air Travel is Growing! Air travel, while it took a large hit during the COVID-19 era, has recovered rapidly. Before Covid, it was predicted to double in the next 20 years. Even though fuel prices are rising, airlines are bringing on more capacity to meet the demand and keeping ticket prices relatively affordable.
- Airport Travelers are a Fit for EVERY Product! Air Travellers are a good target for a lot of brands that are entering the market or expanding. Airport Travellers have a lot of spending power, especially frequent fliers.
- Air Travelers are a Captive Audience! When Travellers are in an airport, they have some extra time on their hands. Shopping is a big activity for folks on vacation. Overall, air Travellers are often attuned to noticing and learning about new products.
- Airports Can Support Your Omni-Channel Strategy! Whether you’re in snacks, electronics, or fashion you’re likely creating an online and offline strategy (omnichannel). Airports are a great way to promote your brand and present a real opportunity for discovery of your product in the physical world, that you can also leverage online
- Airports Have a Guaranteed Future! The major airports in the U.S. and global cities are not going anywhere, and don’t have the challenges facing some physical retail locations and shopping malls due to the rise of eCommerce. The rapid recovery of travel shows how much people need to, and love to, travel. Air travel and airports are a part of everyone’s future.
There are Some Challenges!
- Employee Challenges! Because of the airport “Badging” process, complicated access (parking and shuttling), and location of airports (often of urban areas), the pool of willing employees is small. Retailers and airports must plan, be creative, and deliberate to overcome these challenges and offer an attractive package for employees.
- Logistics & Supply Chain! Scheduling is often based on flight schedules. Getting your goods to and from a store might be a challenge due to security regulations. Your supply chain management is often based on times and days the airport authority will allow it. Delayed or cancelled flights could put a business at a loss for the day. Flight patterns and passenger patterns change. Your business needs to have someone on the ground and in the loop every day to adjust.
- Governing Entities! There are different governing entities such as port authorities, concession management companies, airlines, or city governments that could run the terminal (s) your stores are in. On top of the hierarchy of authority within your brand–it gets complicated when there are various entities to which you report.
In 2019 the top airports in North America ALONE were responsible for servicing more than 800 million people travelling, spending an average of 90 minutes waiting for their flights, and over $8 billion on concessions.
Billions of dollars of retail and food & beverage opportunities alone will become available in North American airports over the next five years.!