If you’re in retail and wondering where to take your concept next, think airports. Travel retail, particularly in airports, is currently enjoying a global uplift. GlobalData’s latest report reveals:

  • Airport spending reached $38 billion globally in 2016
  • By 2021 it will grow 27% to $49 billion
  • Asia-Pacific was the largest and fastest-growing market during 2012-2016
  • Beauty and cosmetics products drive sales in the duty-free industry
  • While there were several social and political situations, Europe grew2% in 2016, driven by increased footfall

Here are some of the emerging trends that make it a safe bet.

Personal shoppers

Airports are becoming more personalised, with Duty-free operators like Gebr. Heinemann creating apps that can improve the shopping experiences of passengers. As well as being able to scan product QR codes to receive additional product information, passengers can also use the app to book their own personal shoppers at a location of their choice.

Heinemann duty free app travel retail

Healthy options 

Early morning beers are going to be a main stay at airports across the world for years to come. However, travellers are looking for new ways to keep fit while they fly. Companies like Roam provide luxury gym facilities, airside, all bookable at reasonable prices, in advance, helping to cater for health-conscious travellers. Facilities include:

  • Pre-cooked healthy meals and drinks, including brands like Counterpart Kombucha and Feed You Fit.
  • Showers and products from Malin+Goetz
  • Rentable work-out clothes

Roam gym travel retail

Travellers are increasingly searching for healthier dining options at airports and concession companies are responding. A good example is HMSHost, that operates in over 120 airports globally, and has just launched an initiative titled “Eat Well. Travel Further” at 11 US airports including Newark Liberty International Airport, Nashville International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

This means single portion bento boxes, fresh and dried organic apple snacks for everyone.

Eat Well Travel Further travel retail

Expanding food delivery options

Food and drink experiences at airports are becoming a larger attraction, but with customers’ expectations increasing each year, new solutions need to be sought. Enter Schiphol airport, which has recently entered into partnership with Deliveroo to offer passengers at gates D and E a number of new food options delivered in under 15 minutes for free.

Deliveroo Schiphol airport travel retail

New ways to pay

People have more payment options available at their disposal now than ever, thanks to mobile payment and contactless payment advancements. Thanks to a new partnership with Vietnamese e-payment company Vimo Chinese travellers can now make payments through the ever-popular WeChat.

Vimo has nearly 500 higher end stores accepting WeChat across five international airports. A similar deal has just been made with Fiumicino Airport, the first airport in Italy to accept this payment type.

VIP treatment

Luxury is on the up at airports across the world. Lotte Duty Free enjoyed A 25% LFL sales improvement in 2018. The brand claims this was, in part, due to “improvements in its online and mobile platform”. One of these is its VIP membership. In April last year, the company opened its ‘Star lounge’ (following an investment of ₩10bn) for VIP customers, which saw exclusive launches of premium brands like Chanel and Swarovski.

Manchester airport VIP travel retail

Manchester airport has recently announced that its new luxury terminal will include fast-track security and immigration, a chauffer-driven ride to your flight and a ‘personalised’ baggage service.

The new service, dubbed ‘PremiAir’ will be available to all travellers, regardless of flying economy or business, and irrespective of airline.


CADA has worked across travel retail, whether rail-side or air-side, for over 20 years. If you’d like to speak with us about our travel retail expertise, please get in touch.

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