Buy then fly, provides bright spot

In all the doom and gloom around at the moment, there is inevitably a silver lining or two. One of those is shown in a new report by Verdict research in the UK that states that global spending at airport retailers has doubled between 2002 and 2007. As a market it now accounts for US $27.1bn in spending. The report points out that passenger numbers are still growing in air travel in spite of the difficulty many airlines are experiencing due to the credit crunch and other economic factors. In fact Verdict are anticipating an 11% increase in 2008 taking spending to over US $30bn.

Europe accounts for 40% of that spend, with strong growth expected from the Middle East (currently 12%, growing to 14.5% by 2012) and China (expecting to see a doubling of sales to US$612m in the next 5 years).

Yet the continuing credit crisis and the expected yo-yoing of oil prices in the near future could easily put paid to that buoyancy of these shopper havens.

And this all begs the question as to why this area of the retail sector should be performing well. What is it about going on holiday or just walking through an airport that has us reaching for our wallets and purses? Is it a rational thing, all factored into the cost of our trip so no need to cut it back? Or is it more emotional, about the possibilities of the journey we are about to embark upon and the thrill that can deliver which makes us succumb? Why are we still spending at airports?