A new study into the airport retailing sector has revealed that London Heathrow and Copenhagen are the leading airports for shoppers in Europe.
The travel hubs topped a list of the continent’s leading retail centres compiled by strategic property consultancy, Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH), beating off competition from Paris Charles De Gaulle and Rome Fiumicino.
Air travel continues to grow globally, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reporting that airlines carried 4.4 billion passengers on scheduled services last year, an increase of 6.9 per cent since 2017, representing an additional 284 million trips.
Airports are increasingly capitalising on the growth of air travel, creating modern premium environments to attract new brands and offer consumers more choice. The results show around the world in new and transformed departure lounges offering incredible architecture, experiences and an extensive choice of retailers, brands and products.
London Heathrow has a well-established reputation as one of the leading travel hubs in the world and its shopping offer is widely known, winning the Skytrax award for Best Airport Shopping for the last ten years.
Retail experts at HDH praised Heathrow’s “customer-centric pricing policy” which guarantees that customers will never pay more than the high street equivalent, with many of its stores, which include Prada, Tiffany and the Harry Potter Shop, offering discounts of up to 20 per cent on the ‘down town’ price of products.
More than 80 million passengers used Heathrow in 2018, and HDH also praised the airport for being ahead of the curve on its competitors, pointing to the fact that it was the first airport to introduce restaurants by leading celebrity chefs and continually delivering innovative, award winning concepts.
Boasting more than 11,000 sq m of speciality, duty free and convenience store space and 95 units in its departure terminal, HDH found that Copenhagen Airport had created a brand and product mix that celebrates modern Scandinavian style and local favourites alongside internationally recognised brands.
This means that more than 80,000 passengers passing through the airport each day were exposed to local favourites including Danish fashion brand Wood Wood, the globally recognised toy brand Lego, and luxury liquorice from Lakrids, as well as global luxury powerhouse brands such as Gucci, Hermes and Saint Laurent.
Top 10 European Airports for Shopping
1= London Heathrow
3. Paris Charles De Gaulle
4. Milan Malpensa
6. Rome Fiumicino
8. Barcelona El Prat
10. London Gatwick
Simon Black, director of travel retail at HDH, explained that the future of airport retailing looked very positive. He said:
“Air travel is stronger than it has ever been and passenger numbers are expected to increase dramatically over the next two decades. I expect to see continued growth in this space as airports invest in the development of terminal and retail propositions.
“For retailers, this offers an opportunity for growth away from the under-pressure high street and we will see more retailers utilising pre-ordering, reserve and collect, and home delivery services to enable passengers to plan their airport shopping in advance of travelling.
“This insight highlights the importance of a strong and flexible operational infrastructure to support airport business, something many of the retailers operating out of Heathrow and Copenhagen are demonstrating perfectly.
“The Christmas period is often influential in the success or failure of retail brands and destinations, but the expected continuation of success in the airport sector will reduce much of the pressure on brands already invested in travel hubs.”
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