The Ultimate Guide To Airports – New Retail Therapy Destinations

Luxury brands at airports- a new retail therapy.

Travel retail is going through transforming and luxury brands are at the realm of transforming airport retail.

As per me, airports are “The New Malls” with the facility of taking off and getting into any country or city.

The biggest trends in airports for 2020 are personalization and making high-end shopping an attainable luxury for the modern traveler.

Today at the airports there are a plethora of luxury brands right from Estee lauder to Louis Vuitton to Gucci and Chanel, Dior; one can expect all the luxury brands under one roof.

Airports are the new retail therapy destinations.

Read my article on travel retail must do’s, click here.

Check this VR engagement at Incheon airport in Korea.

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Be More Fanta activation

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Luxury brand’s retail therapy- Targeting emerging markets

Most of the luxury brands are focusing on the travel retail sector to target the customers from emerging markets, who frequent these shops at airports and are introduced to their offerings and services.

Travel Retail continues to be an important cornerstone of the luxury brand’s strategy to reach these consumers, particularly as destinations and traffic patterns shift.

My article dedicated to the brands that are driving experiential retail in the travel retail sector.

When it comes to what people are buying at airports and stations, it appears that health and beauty are at the very top of the consumer’s agenda.

Today beauty accounts for around a third of all travel retail sales.

It’s all about experience and engagement.

Research shows that airports account for 5% of total luxury sales.

Airports have become more about the experience that consumers can have before they get on the plane, rather than about the act of traveling itself.

Retail therapy at its best.

Promoting convenience and exclusivity- Retail Therapy

Another reason beauty brands account for such a big part of travel-related spending is that the product itself is perfectly aligned to the notion of ‘on-the-go’.

Brands like Revlon have introduced a product especially for travel retail i.e. Minis or ‘travel sets’ are aimed at global jet setters who don’t want the hassle of taking full-size products along with them.

travel packs for retail therapy at airports

Instead of creating a physical presence in an airport, Revlon counts on the fact that consumers will more be willing to spend on a sense of exclusivity – a product that cannot be found elsewhere.


Aligning airlines and airport operators

As per Industry analysts, Both Airlines and airports could and should work together as retail partners. Since both are serving the same customer, simply at different points of the journey.

Check out the Clinique PopLip campaign

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Retailers have realized that travel retail provides them with tremendous opportunities to create visibility for their products, increase customer loyalty and recruit new customers in different countries.

Estee lauder group has a whole experiential strategy for its travel retail arm.

Check out their activation in Hongkong airport.

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Future trend of travel retail

You will see the rise of the ‘marketplace’ concept.

learn about the growing men’s grooming market, click here.

 Case study: Air Asia tie-up with Oneshop

AirAsia is attempting to create an ‘Amazon of the skies’ marketplace.

By leveraging its passenger base and the digital know-how coupled with the fulfillment capacity.

AirAsia counts airport partnerships in its native Malaysia, including at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) where it has partnered with most retailers.

At present, Ourshop offers two fulfillment options:

Pick-up infight, allowing customers to pay for goods through the Ourshop portal.

Second, order for collection on the ground at the duty-free shop.


retail therapy at airports


Case 2: AIR BAZAAR- Exclusive offer of all Air India Domestic Passengers


Buy or Redeem amazing deals on the go!

The Catalogue is kept in every passenger seat featuring trendy products with amazing deals.

You can select the product and purchase it from AVA shops on your arrivals.

Travel retail offers tremendous opportunities for brands and retailers to tap the focused and captive audience to promote & sell their brands. The future of travel retail is all about the consumer’s engagement.


Leasing space at airports are becoming more & more expensive due to the high bidding costs by travel retail operators to the airport authorities which leases the airport on the “Build & operate” model.

This practice is predominant in the Indian sub-continent as it comes under Private-Public partnerships. The world’s best airports like Delhi airport and Mumbai airport are the result of such initiatives.


About the author:

Ritesh Mohan is a passionate retail professional with over 20 years in the Retail sector, handling some of the biggest brands in beauty, fashion and fragrances retail & FMCG sector. He has been instrumental in the growth of some of the regional brands as well in the Middle East region. Ritesh specializes in Retail management, Product development, and Brand Management, Retail Operations, Sales Management and Franchising & Business Management. He strongly believes in empowering business owners with his wisdom & experience of around two decades in the industry.