With the last weekend before Christmas traditionally the UK’s busiest period for travellers, new research by payments innovator, FreedomPay reveals that air travellers are set to spend £56m in UK airports this Christmas, parting with, on average, £62 per person in the departure lounge, every time they fly.
The survey of 2,500 UK air travellers and their airport shopping habits shows that, of the average 98 minutes people spend in the airport prior to take-off, almost a third (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 come out on top, 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 and 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 there (21 minutes). The younger generations tend to spend more time in ‘duty free’, with 18-24 year olds spending the most time shopping (40 minutes), followed by the 25 – 34s (34 minutes).
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.
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 regional average at £82 each. Londoners come a close second in time spent in the airports (90 minutes) but with the third highest expenditure at £79 per person.
When it comes to the overall shopping experience, discounts, convenience and speed of the payment transaction 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: “This new research clearly shows that air travellers are keen shoppers and airport retailers must think about customer-centric commerce, serving them in a convenient and speedy manner. Shoppers spend a third of our time focused on buying goods and services and want fast, convenient and secure payments. FreedomPay is responding by offering one of the first open payment platforms in the UK helping retailers of all sizes to transform their digital platforms whether for contactless in duty-free, pay-at-table in restaurants or loyalty in coffee shops.”