UK airports are expecting almost one million passengers arriving or departing on 5,400 flights over the festive period between the 21st and 25th December. New research conducted by payments innovator FreedomPay, reveals that UK travellers will spend over £56m at UK airports during this period, parting on average with £62 per person every time they fly.
The survey of 2,500 UK air travellers and their airport shopping habits found that, of the average 98 minutes people spend in the airport prior to take-off, almost 30 minutes of that time is spent making purchases from both Retail and Food and Beverage outlets.
Men spend more than women
In the battle of the sexes, men were the biggest shoppers, spending an average of £68 in comparison to £57 for women. When asked about what they usually buy, men tend to prioritise alcohol whereas women opt for confectionery, beauty and fragrance items.
Despite over 55s spending the longest time in airports (113 minutes), compared to other age groups – 45-54s (106 minutes) and 18-24s (91 minutes), they ‘fly’ through duty free, spending the least amount of time (21 minutes) shopping. The younger age groups tend to spend more time in duty free, with 18-24 year olds dedicating the most time to shopping (40 minutes), followed by the 25-34 year olds (34 minutes).
Scots spend more
The research also noted the differences in spending habits for different parts of the country, with Scottish travellers spending the least amount of time in airports (85 minutes) and just 25 minutes in duty free. Yet they spend well above the national average at £82 per person. Londoners came a close second in time spent in the airports (90 minutes) but have the third highest expenditure at £79 per person.
E-payments are popular amongst millennials
The study also identified the top three most popular methods of paying for airport purchases with debit cards topping the list at 38%. Cash landed second at 28% and in third place were credit cards with 22% of air travellers noting this as their preferred method of payment.
However, innovative payment technology such as wearables and mobile payment options are becoming increasingly popular, particularly amongst younger age groups, with 1 in 4 18-24 year olds (22%) opting to use e-payment devices.
Discounts, convenience and speed of transaction
When it comes to the overall shopping experience, discounts, convenience and speed of payment rated highly for all air travellers who treasure their time and expect value for money when buying goods and services at the airport.
Tony Hammond, Managing Director of FreedomPay Europe, commented: “Retail is a big part of airport commercial revenue and the development of retail offerings also contribute to its growth. Our research shows how consumer programmes as well as ease and speed of payment transaction are extremely valuable to air travellers. It is important, therefore, to recognise that partnerships between retailers and payments innovators is not just beneficial to their business but also valuable for passenger’s travel experience.
“FreedomPay operates in more than 100 major airports in the U.S. and we are now in the UK, offering one of the first open customer-centric commerce platforms to help merchants of all sizes transform their digital platforms and enable all types of payments whether for contactless in duty-free, pay-at-table in restaurants or loyalty in coffee shops.”