Airports Should be Looked at as a Possible Retail Channel for Consumer Brands

A post or two back (“5 Things to Know about the Airport Retail Industry”) I provided a super brief take on how to sell your product or brand into the airport retail/restaurant industry.  I went over a couple of points about how (in the U.S.) airport

s are partly run by the government and leased out through bids.  And that disadvantaged business enterprises or D.B.E.’s (woman and minority-owned)  actually have some real advantages in this market.  And, yes, we help

 companies do this - contact us here.

Now I’m Going to Talk about Why Brands need to be in Airport Retail; here are 5 reasons:

airport flight board

1/ 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.

The reasons for this are the growing global population, and the ability and desire of the emerging global middle classes to travel, along with increased trade.

fashion products

2/ The Demographics of Airport Travelers are a Good Fit for Many Products

Air travelers tend to be more well-heeled and educated than the general population; so, they are a good target for a lot of brands that are entering the market or expanding.  Airport travelers have a lot of spending power.  Especially frequent fliers.

3/ Air Travelers are Often in a Good Frame of Mind to Notice and Buy your Product

When travelers are in an airport, they have some extra time on their hands.  For business travelers it might be some of their most valued down-time.  And leisure travelers are in ‘me-time’, self-reward mode.  Shopping is a big activity for folks on vacation.  Overall, air travelers are often attuned to notice and learn about new products.  A recent Nielsen study showed that air travelers actually do use some of this time to visit shops and restaurants and learn about new products.  And buy.

And a recent NY Times essay described the airport traveler’s frame of mind –  ‘Letter of Recommendation: Airport Layovers’.

4/ 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.  Retailers and brandthat have a strong online and offline presence tend to have more loyal, higher-spending customers.


woman shopping for jewellery

5/ Airports Have a Guaranteed Future

The major airports in 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 as the pandemic ebbs shows how much people need to, and love to, travel. Air travel and airports are a part of everyone’s future.

No, airports  aren’t easy to understand or navigate. They are a highly specialized and sought-after type of retail channel and real estate.  But for the right products and brands, they are an important marketing and sales opportunity that should be explored. Last year 6% of luxury shopping, globally, took place in airportsup from 2% the previous year.

“Airport retail has become so important in recent years that it’s been pegged the sixth continent of luxury.” (

Is your product or concept right for airports? Give us a shout, to discuss.

Or download our quick-guide with more details on how to access the airport retail & food & beverage industry.