Airports are Outperforming Department Stores for Luxury Brands
Not long ago, we spoke with Jeremy Smith, the president of airport-based consumer electronics retailer InMotion, about the challenges and benefits of being an airport-only shop. InMotion, which is in the midst of celebrating its 20th year in business, has exploded onto the scene in its relatively short two decades in existence going from a kiosk-only movie rental hub for travelers to an international brand that raked in $163 million in sales last year—good enough to rank 55th on our Top 101 consumer electronics retailers list.
InMotion is an excellent example of how the properly designed and executed airport retail strategy can result in tremendous success for a company or brand. But, as Smith told us in our conversation, there’s another side to this equation that really makes airport retail something of an exception to the rule: foot traffic is never going to be a problem in this space. And it’s that exact point that has led some of the top luxury brands across all retail channels to place a greater emphasis on airport retail. In fact, as a recent Wall Street Journal report pointed out, those luxury brands are now, for the first time, realizing more success in the airport than they are in their most traditional retail environment: the department store.
In 2018, makeup brand Estée Lauder Co. generated more revenue at airports globally than they did at U.S. department stores, which for decades has been the main driver of sales for beauty brands.