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The “Sixth Continent” for high-end goods: Why luxury sells at airports

21.11.2016 at 07:00
Airports are important sales locations for high-end brand goods.

International traveler flows have proved to be an important revenue stream for valuable brand goods. In recent years, airports especially have become coveted retail locations for luxury brands. According to a study by Bain & Company, luxury goods sales grew by 29% in 2015, with an estimated value of 60 billion dollars globally.

The main reason valuable goods sell so well at airports are, of course, due to their tax free prices. According to the World Duty Free Helsinki, transfer passengers can save up to 20% on luxury products compared to their normal prices.

According to the Economist, international brands have begun referring to travel retail – especially duty free airport shopping – as the “Sixth Continent” in their sales strategy.

Wealthy globe-trotters

Passengers seek out luxury goods for style and exclusivity, but also quality and craftsmanship. Many of the most well-known brands have a long heritage in designing and manufacturing quality products. For instance, Loewe, Burberry and Bally were all established back in the 1800s. 

And though flying is no longer a luxury reserved for the elite, international airports still see an influx of relatively prosperous customers who appreciate quality brands. For many, airport shopping is an essential part of the travel experience.

Quality brand sales in international airports have been especially increased by the rise of Chinese middle classes. Duty free shopping by Chinese tourists in Europe rose by 64% in 2015, and the largest increase was in luxury products. For the Chinese, duty free shopping at international airports is relatively cheap. But even more important, they can rest assured that the luxury products purchased at European airports are guaranteed to be genuine.

A wide array of brands

With the rising demand, airports have broadened their offering of high-end brands. At Helsinki Airport too, you can buy a whole range of quality brands, such as Burberry, Bally, Loewe, Mont Blanc, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace Collection

And while luxury brands are important, airport shops also offer a range of products in all different price categories, including mid-range fashion brands such as Esprit and Tommy Hilfiger.

Why airport shops ask to see your boarding pass?

Check all the shops at Helsinki Airport