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While airlines are focusing on getting more revenue out of passengers, many airports are pushing to get more revenue from non-passengers, and placing a retail kiosk in a cramped space that might otherwise go unused is one way to do it.

Airports in North America see an opportunity to make money not just on aviation, but they are increasingly focusing on non-aeronautical revenue, including from people who aren’t flying that day, as a way to cope with the volatility of the airline business cycle.

That was one of the conclusions in the 2013 Airports Council International-North America Concessions Benchmarking Survey, which found that more than 70% of airports in North America in 2013 were focusing on increasing non-aviation revenue.

The focus on non-aeronautical revenue is a big change. In 1990, less than a third of these airports were looking to tap the wallets of non-passengers as a way to balance out the revenue stream, the survey states.

In 2012, according to the FAA, U.S. airports generated $9.31 billion in aeronautical revenue, and that was 55.2% of total operating revenue. Non-aeronautical revenue wasn’t too far behind, amounting to $7.56 billion, or 44.8% of total operating revenue.

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Parking and ground transportation amounted to $3.1 billion in 2012, and that was 41.2% of total non-aeronautical revenue, the largest component.

Rental cars also accounted for a big chunk at 19.8%, and hotel revenue was the smallest percentage of non-aeronautical revenue, at just 1.4%.

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Food and beverage median gross sales per enplanement at North American airports in 2012 grew 3% to $5.15, while duty free, news, gift and specialty retail median gross sales per enplanement rose 6.77% to $3.31, the survey found.

If you buy a haircare product or a smartphone through an automated kiosk at the airport the next time you are passing through, you are not alone because these automated retail units are a big trend at airports in North America this year.

The survey found that that 50% of airports in North America now have such automated retail units, ranging from Best Buy Express to 3Floz grooming products.

That’s an increase from the 41% of airports (43 airports) that reported having automated retail units in 2012.

These kiosks are a growing trend at airports in North America as they maximize the use of space that might be unsuitable for traditional retail outlets, and sometimes amount to a convenience for passengers on the go.

In other findings, the Airport Council International survey found that just 39% of airports in North America have a mobile app, and that 78% of these apps use them to promote concessions.

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Tags: apps, food and drink, retail

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