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Off The Page: Airport Retail Spending In On A Downward Slide, AXN Data Shows

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) led the field of top-performing airports in retail in 2017, registering a spend per enplaned passenger of $24.21, according to the 2018 AX Fact Book. The retail rankings are based on combined sales of news and gift, specialty retail and duty-free sales.

YVR’s strong retail performance, due to its vibrant duty-free and specialty retail program, was far higher than the second-ranked airport in spend per enplaned passenger. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) ranked second in SEP at $13.16, followed by Miami International Airport (MIA) at $10.05, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at $10.02 and Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) at $9.28.

The average sales per enplaned passenger has been declining in recent years as passengers increasingly choose to bypass airport retail offerings. In 2017, the average retail spend per person for the Top 25 performing airports came in at $6.90, compared to the average $7.80 spent per enplaned traveler in 2012. The Top 25 airports are ranked based on overall (food and beverage and retail) sales per enplaned passenger.

Among the Top 25 performing airports, LAX was the leader in overall retail sales, topping $400 million in 2017. JFK recorded total retail sales of $387 million, followed by San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at $241 million, MIA at $217 million and YVR at $211 million in total retail sales last year. Of those five retail sales leaders, only one – LAX – ranked among the top five airports in enplanements.

The AX Fact Book data shows that overall sales of both retail and food and beverage concessions has increased over the past five years. But retail’s performance lags in comparison to food and beverage. In 2012, food and beverage accounted for 54 percent of total concessions sales, but by last year that share had grown to 59 percent. During that five-year period, total food and beverage sales jumped to $3.4 billion, a 60 percent rise from the $2.1 billion recorded in 2012.

In comparison, total retail sales grew 20 percent in the five-year period, rising from $2.4 billion in 2012 to $2.9 billion in 2017.

Editor’s note: The full version of this article appears in the October 2018 issue of AXN Magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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