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Plane simple: Inside airport retail

Gone are the days whena $10 discount on foundation and a giant Toblerone could placate the busy traveler. Now, passengers start their holidays the instant they clear immigration, meaning more spending and higher expectations as they begin their travels earlier.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 7.8 billion passengers to travel globally in 2036, a near doubling of the 4 billion air travelers expected to fly this year. The rate at which we are flying has only continued to increase, and the rate at which tourists enter the New Zealand market has grown in reflection to that.

IATA reports that the biggest driver of demand for air travel will soon be the Asia-Pacific region. This will be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next two decades. Auckland Airport’s monthly traffic updates reflect the projection, with international passengers (excluding transit passengers) increasing by 6.5 percent to 872,408 in February 2018 compared to the same time last year.

The number of passengers that traveled through Auckland Airport in February alone sat at 1,688,859 – up 111,278 from the same period in 2017. That averages to about 60,000 passengers passing through the airport each day, at all times of the day.

Queenstown international passenger numbers were 65,084 for the current month of February in 2018, while domestic passengers surpassed that with 135,152 in the same month, up 8.6 percent from last year. Christchurch airport estimates its amount of passengers as eight million annually.

Because of this rise in air traffic, naturally, there has been a rise in consumer spending in the airport. The new airport consumer has a lot more spending power than previous iterations; they’re tech savvy; and they’re better-informed about product.

Customer demands have changed as travelers have been exposed to more international airports as result of globalisation. This forces airports to be more competitive and innovative. The mix of airport retail is drastically changing to reflect that.

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Courtney Devereux is a Communication Consultant at Clear Hayes and freelance business writer.