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    Jul 27, 2016

    Changi a hit with over $2b spent by travellers

    CHANGI is one of only three airports - the other two being South Korea's Incheon and Dubai - that raked in more than US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion) in spending by travellers last year.

    Actual amounts were not stated but Changi was ranked third behind Incheon and Dubai in a recent study by Swedish duty-free and travel retail consultancy, Generation Research.

    Globally, travellers spent US$62 billion at duty-free and airport shops last year, about 3 per cent less than the US$63.8 billion in 2014.

    Asia was the only region where spending increased.

    Perfumes and cosmetics made up about a third of total sales, followed by wines and spirits, and tobacco.

    With demand for travel in the Asia-Pacific expected to grow in tandem with a burgeoning middle class, airports in the region can expect takings to go up further, experts said.

    For Changi, boosting commercial revenue is key to keeping the airport competitive, as part of the takings are used to subsidise aircraft parking and landing, as well as other aeronautical charges.

    When Jewel Changi Airport opens in early 2019, travellers will have more reason to shop at Changi, said lecturer Raine Anastasia Chin from Singapore Polytechnic's business school.

    The multi-storey complex being built in front of Terminal 1 will offer mainly retail and dining options.

    Ms Chin said: "We expect the retail scene at Changi to pick up significantly when Jewel is done.

    "The idea is to get travellers, especially those in transit, to spend time and hopefully money there."

    Expanding retail and dining options to boost revenue and earnings is a growing trend among airports worldwide, she noted.

    "An airport is no longer just a place people go to, to take a flight", Ms Chin added.

    To entice more travellers and visitors to shop, Changi Airport Group reviews and refreshes its offerings regularly, said its executive vice-president (commercial) Lim Peck Hoon.

    Recently introduced brands include Spanish clothing and accessories label Zara's first duplex store in an airport, Saint Laurent Paris boutique, Samsung Experience Store and Garrett Popcorn.

    With the demand for chocolates and sweets growing by 20 per cent year-on-year in the first five months of the year, Changi is looking to expand product offerings in this range, Ms Lim said.

    Another category becoming popular with shoppers is mid-priced fashion, as carried by brands like Charles & Keith, Uniqlo, Giordano and Pandora.

    To catch those who may not have much time to shop, the airport's online shopping portal, iShopChangi which was launched in 2013, now offers more than 6,000 items.

    With the service, travellers can confirm their orders 18 hours to two weeks before their departure flights and pick up the items at any of the designated collection points.