Duty Free Make Over

Epson's Duncan Ferguson looks at how new Airport Duty Free spaces have become a showcase for stunning print.

Duty Free Make Over

Glorious digital print takes centre stage in new look Duty Free spaces

Anyone going through airports these days will have noticed the considerable amount of renovation work taking place. In particular, tired duty free areas have been totally revamped and have emerged as enticing ‘retail experiences’.

These face lifts are proving very successful because they are stimulating significant increases in the average spend of passengers. World Duty Free (WDF) pioneered the “walkthrough store” where passengers coming though security have no choice but to stroll through the duty free area.  It’s no longer about cheap alcohol, chocolate and cigarettes – although these can still be found – the focus is now on high-end brands and luxury products.

The duty free store at Bilbao Airport in Spain

This concept has consistently delivered an increase in sales wherever it has been implemented. When you consider that Heathrow handles over 73 million passengers a year, all of them captive consumers, it’s no wonder that they – and major airports all over the world – are creating more and better retail spaces to attract them to spend money. Latest published figures show that Heathrow passengers alone spend £1.8 billion per year – that’s an average of £38.86 per person.

But competition is high and brands with concessions within the duty free area have a short space of time and a relatively small area in which to attract passengers’ attention. Retailers have met the challenge with a feast of high-quality, high-impact and fast-changing advertising and Point of Sale displays which is great news for print suppliers. The ability to produce stunning quality front-lit and back-lit displays today has maintained print’s place as the media of choice in airport retail spaces.

Next time you are browsing the offers in Duty Free why not take time out to look at the graphics surrounding you. They represent the very best of digital print today.

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