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Kiwi Airport Spending Taking-Off

Kiwi Airport Spending Taking-Off

Cheapflights survey uncovers a nation of duty free shopaholics and queue cutters

Kiwis are splashing their cash in airports and spending over twenty million dollars[1] on duty free shopping annually according to new research from

Findings from the second Cheapflights #AirportLife survey showed that four in five (80 per cent) people normally make a duty free purchase at the airport, with the national average spend coming in at $94 per visit. North Islanders are far more inclined to make a purchase than South Islanders (84 per cent compared to 67 per cent), and will shell out approximately $20 more per visit.

This spending is in addition to the over $43 million1 devoted to pre-flight booze at airports, and on top of the money spent on pre-flight priorities and activities. For example, once Kiwis are past check-in, women are most likely to prioritise getting a bite to eat and stocking up on supplies (30 per cent), while men prefer to find somewhere to simply sit back and relax (35 per cent). Only a very lucky few (five per cent) make a beeline for a premium airport lounge and get to enjoy its freebies.

Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said: “Just five per cent of people surveyed said they had ever been late for a flight, meaning the majority are arriving at the airport with time to kill. Shopping is a natural way to pass this time, and with more terminals being revamped across the world, retailers are set to benefit.

“‘Buy Now Pick Up Later’ services are also making it easier to spend up big, with fliers able to make purchases prior to departure and miss the queues, simply collecting their goodies once they arrive back in New Zealand.”

While retail therapy keeps many Kiwis happy and almost half (47 per cent) of respondents said they are in ‘holiday-mode’ by the time they check-in, the research showed tensions can still flare easily at the airport.

Here, four in 10 (39 per cent) people identified queue jumping as the most annoying behaviour of fellow travellers, while a third (33 per cent) said they were irritated by those who are loud and hold public phone conversations.

Other top pet peeves include people waiting until they’re at the check-in counter to repack overweight luggage (28 per cent), letting small children run around or being generally unprepared (both 27 per cent).

Bo Burns, a 36 year old marketing executive from Auckland, recently returned from Queenstown and said she has been frustrated by other travellers’ behaviour at the airport, but was unaware her own airport etiquette wasn’t up to scratch.

“When you’re running late for a flight and trying to manoeuvre your way to the check in desk, it’s frustrating when you encounter queue jumpers or kids running amuck. But I had no real idea that my own behaviour could be equally as annoying for fellow passengers.

“I was running late for a flight recently and as a result, I had to rapidly negotiate my way to the front of the line while trying to call my husband to let him know my arrival time. It didn’t cross my mind at the time, but other passengers would have found my antics irritating – I certainly would have been if I was in the queue behind me. I will know for next time!”

Additional key findings from the research include:

• Kiwis are more likely to visit duty free and will spend more money on goods than travellers across the ditch in Australia, where 71 per cent are hitting the shops and making a purchase of $88 on average.

• Frequent fliers will spend almost three times as much in duty free shops as those who travel infrequently ($216 on average versus $74).

• Those under 45 years of age are also most likely to shop (85 per cent compared to 73 per cent), however will only hand over about $4 more than their elders on average.

• While women are more likely to make a purchase than men (83 per cent compared to 78 per cent), men are spending just as much once in an airport store ($95 and $93 respectively).

• Women are more likely to be bothered by line cutters (40 per cent versus 30 per cent of men) while men are more likely irritated by the unprepared (26 per cent compared to 21 per cent of women).

• Those from the North Island are more likely to be annoyed by travellers letting small children run around (30 per cent) compared to South Islanders (18 per cent).

• Those from the South Island are more frustrated by those being generally unprepared – 32 per cent versus 26 per cent of North Islanders.

• South Islanders are also more likely to be irked by fellow travellers sleeping across or taking up multiple chairs (31 per cent compared to 24 per cent of North Islanders).

For more information or to search your next holiday, visit, and to join the conversation online #AirportLife.


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