HMY > What’s the Travel Retail Shopper Like?

What’s the Travel Retail Shopper Like?

When talking about travel retail, the first image that comes to mind is the airport store.  But this sales channel is becoming increasingly more present at ports and train stations too, the key is attracting travellers to shop.

The public that brands in the travel retail sector reach differs a lot from the usual folks who frequent stores in urban settings or shop online. Only by understanding their characteristics and anticipating their demand can brands be successful.

What Are The Travel Retail Shopper’s Typical Characteristics?

Travel shoppers are increasingly more important for the retail sector as more and more people travel annually and shop at stores at ports, train stations and especially airports.

Limited time: travel shoppers tend to have a defined time for catching flights, trains or boats. In train stations and ports, there is no minimum wait time, as the periods between security controls and boarding are less long, except in cases of large-scale modes of transport, which can take several hours.

On the other hand, at airports there tends to be at least the so-called golden hour.  This happens because after passing security until boarding, a person will spend at least 60 minutes waiting. When there are delays or layovers, the wait times can be even greater.

Brands take advantage of these temporary time constraints to focus on different types of travellers, with specific points of origin or those with similar destinations, aiming to offer a more personalized experience in line with their tastes. 

Emotional influence: the mental state of a consumer who is travelling is very different from what they experience when they shop in their day-to-day lives or in a family environment. With the limited time available, including the feeling of being rushed or stressed, conditions drive consumers to make purchases, even if they’re not conscious of it.

We also must take into account whether they are going on a trip or coming home.  In the first case, there’s a feeling of relaxation associated with vacationing, which also motivates consumers to hesitate less about spending money, compared to other scenarios, where they think about it more.

This characteristic can make it easier for brands to propose specific commercial spaces that accurately reflect the consumer and encourage impulse shopping.  Like for example layouts that are short lived, like specific corners, or pop-ups, etc. With respect to their own products or designs, they can also adapt to what the traveller needs, with smaller, travel sized products to facilitate transport or to bring gifts on planes etc.

Depending on the season, brands can also design or set up their stores and furniture according to the current season, taking into account the most appropriate product to offer.

Varied origins: travellers, especially at airports, don’t all pertain to the same socio-economic class. In contrast, the proliferation of low cost airlines has made travelling by plane no longer exclusive to people with the highest purchasing power and that’s brought airport shopping to a greater number of people from diverse backgrounds.

This allows brands to enter new markets and make themselves known to a public that before wasn’t regular at all.  This is the case with some luxury companies.  They see how their not so classic clientele now has access to their shops and knows their products first hand.  So there is a trend where more and more brands aim to set up their stores in a way that’s much more open to the public, giving travellers access and making them feel like they’re in a familiar place.

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