Retail in India has found a new and unlikely battleground – the airport. As air travel gains popularity, airports are emerging as the next hot spot for national and international brands. Airport retailing is a popular concept globally and we have a long way to go before we catch up with Asia’s big airports such as Singapore or Hong Kong. However, with privatization and revamping of major airports, travel retail has picked the pace and emerged as a growing trend across cities.
Travel is a big priority for millennials as they are keen on exploring new lands and destinations. Air travel is no longer a luxury for today’s generation that likes to travel frequently and doesn’t shy away from making impulse purchases at airports. Indian airports are tapping this growing demand and a case in point is Mumbai’s swanky terminal 2 that has around 21,000 square meters of retail area. There are more than 100 Indian and international premium brands currently operating at the airport, across various categories such as apparel, wellness, convenience, travel and books, electronics, and fashion accessories,
Developments such as Worldmark at Aerocity near Delhi airport also illustrate how public-private partnerships are resulting in the development of dedicated retailing areas.
According to research, rental values at airports are nearly double of what retailers pay at high streets. Yet, very high returns from airport outlets explain why this format is turning so profitable. The proliferation of major brands has transformed airport terminals in major metros into retail hubs. With an annual footfall of more than 40 million passengers, Mumbai’s Terminal 2 is now regarded as a ‘mall along the runway’. Brands have been quick to grab this opportunity and have created unique touch and feel experiences at airports.
According to the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation (CAPA) the money spent on retail at Indian airports will reach $1.6 billion by 2021. Experts expect retail sales to keep increasing at airports as passenger traffic continues to rise. The growth of airport retail presents a win-win situation for both retailers as well as customers. Retailers have discovered an additional channel to reach out to customers and create a special shopping experience that triggers impulse buying. For customers, traveling has never been so exciting with a plethora of brands and experiences just the next journey away.
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