Though rents are higher in airports than they are in malls, retailers are embracing the departure terminal as a good place to drum up business. After all, unlike at the mall, whose future seems ambiguous at best, airports provide a captive audience. How many times have you found yourself making an unintended purchase while waiting for an hour — or more — after clearing security?
Whether travelers are motivated by guilt to buy gifts for friends back home, or are simply bored (some of the first retailers to move into airports were specialty electronics purveyors aimed at male shoppers, which we think says a lot about the boredom factor — somehow wireless TV headphones, single-player chess sets, and pop-up mini speakers just seem like items that would attract attention when there is literally nothing else to do), people waiting around in airports are willing to buy. And retailers themselves have made the necessary store adjustments to attract customers — keeping aisles wide enough to accommodate luggage, promoting items that don’t have to be tried on, and presenting open layouts to entice people in.
Some of the most recent airport retail converts include stores ranging from Mango to Muji to P. Diddy’s men’s line, Sean John. What do you think of this growing trend? Do you like the idea of shopping in an airport, or would you try to avoid temptation and save your money for, say, the trip itself?