Shopping is considered to be one of the oldest and most important aspects of tourism. For many tourists no trip is complete without having spent time in shops, malls or at local markets . Several authors even believe in the ‘‘urge to shop’’ as a motivator to travel . ‘‘To be able to peruse, to examine, to feel and to think of the joys derived from purchasing certain merchandise is indeed pleasurable to millions of people, and for them it is a minor, if not a major reason for travel’’. Because of this interrelationship between tourism and shopping, airport policymakers no longer consider the transportation of passengers between one destination and another as the solely purpose of an airport. They believe that an airport can be a leisure attraction and primary destination in its own right . Also retailers realized that waiting passengers could be a lucrative source of revenue and increased their involvement in airports in general and in departure lounges in particular . Despite these changes dictated by commercial imperatives, airport retailing and its customers remain an under researched and poorly illustrated area of study .
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In view of the interrelationship between shopping and tourism, the increasing number of travellers, and the rising amount of shops
and sales at the airport, insight in airport shopping motivations and airport shopper types is crucial to work out an optimal
marketing strategy for airport shops. Because traditional shopping motivations and shopper type research is mainly focused on
home-, clothing and grocery shopping and the speciﬁc character of an airport environment creates the impression of different
shopping needs and shopper types, travellers at the Brussels airport are questioned by means of a standardized questionnaire. The
results revealed two traditional shopping motivations—experiential and functional—and two motivations relating to the airport
infrastructure and atmosphere. Travellers can be incited to consume by characteristics that are typical for an airport environment,
with multilingual shop communication and the possibility to pay with different currencies on the one hand and impulse purchase,
purchase out of boredom and purchase urged by the surrounding atmosphere on the other hand. Furthermore, three airport
shopper types were distinguished: ‘‘mood shoppers’’, ‘‘shopping lovers’’ and ‘‘apathetic shoppers’’. The apathetic shopper is the
most universal shopper. This type of shopper is indifferent to shopping no matter the context. ‘‘Mood shoppers’’ and ‘‘shopping
lovers’’ are both motivated to purchase due to features of an airport. While the mood shopper is mostly triggered by atmospheric
and mood elements typical for an airport environment, shopping lovers like shopping in all its aspects, although the airportinfrastructure
appears to be an extra stimulation for purchase.
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