Investigations on Product Purchase Behaviour of Domestic Air Travellers
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The Indian civil aviation industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. Compared to 99 airports in March 2018, nearly 200 operational airports are expected in India by 2040. However, the self-sustainability of the airports remains a concern. Airport revenue comes from mainly two sources aeronautical and non-aeronautical. Out of which, non-aeronautical revenue through retailing is emerging as a critical resource for self-sustainability. An “airport user” is a potential shopper, including travellers (passengers), airport working personnel, meters, and greeters. Among these shoppers, air passenger purchase has distinctive characteristics. They are not at the airport terminal for the primary purpose of purchasing, but they are captive customers. The passengers experience feelings of stress and excitement at the same time. However, they are time-sensitive customers. Thus, it gives rise to the importance of understanding passenger purchase behaviour at the airport and investigates the typology of passengers who shop and their product category. Given these distinct characteristics, few studies examine Indian domestic travellers. Further, to the best of our knowledge, there exists no comprehensive framework of purchase behaviour of Indian domestic passengers that incorporates various stages of purchase-including purchase decision, purchase satisfaction, and post-purchase intention. Most of the existing studies are limited to duty-free purchases and the purchase behaviour of international travellers. The study defines four objectives to address these research gaps. 1) identify external and internal drivers influencing airport purchase and develop an airport purchase behaviour model, 2) examine significant relationships between variables and their influence on airport purchase decision, 3) examine significant relationships between variables and their influence on airport purchase satisfaction and post-purchase intention, and 4) empirically validate the retail product purchase behaviour model of airport passengers. Key findings from the analysis are as follows: 1. The binary logistics regression model indicates that with the increase in dwell time and income of passengers, the likelihood of purchasing products such as luxury watches, bags, cosmetics, etc., also increases. Passengers’ impulse buying tendency and fulfilment of expectations increase the likelihood of purchase while online engagement and price comparison adversely impact their purchase. The findings of binary logistic modelling are unique, we could demonstrate that online engagement and price comparison negatively impact the purchase of non-eatable products like luxury watches, bags, cosmetics, etc. Despite the availability of dwell time, if a passenger is engaged more in online activities, it is less likely to get enough time to buy a product from retail outlets at the airport despite their impulse buying tendency. The results differ from the purchase decision model of eatables which is driven mainly by airport service quality. 2. The external environment elements primarily drive passengers’ satisfaction, leading to purchase loyalty and advocacy intention. However, the mediation results reveal that the product-specific repeat purchase intention is independent of how satisfied a passenger might be with their last purchase. The product-specific repeat purchase behaviour is driven mainly by their impulse buying tendency, which may be stimulated by a lively store environment and visual merchandise, and availability of product category at the airport. 3. A significant difference in the influence of product category and online engagement on purchase satisfaction is found in the married and unmarried group of passengers. A positive impact of product category and negative impact of online engagement was found on the purchase satisfaction of the married group of passengers; in contrast, no significant impact is found on purchase satisfaction of the unmarried group. Airport service quality has a lesser positive impact on the satisfaction of the younger age group of travellers than the older group. In contrast, the store environment and visual merchandise significantly influence the younger age group but is insignificant in older passengers. The results of the study and holistic model of purchase behaviour can be of interest to airport authorities and retailers at the airport to not just look at the airport customers as captive and focus on customer satisfaction strategies but to leapfrog and focus on embedding shopping as a salient belief about an airport travel experience. The significant contributions from this work are listed below: 1. The study output contributes to the academic literature by developing a comprehensive framework of purchase behaviour of domestic travellers that incorporates various stages of the purchase, including purchase decision, purchase satisfaction, and post-purchase intentions. External and internal drivers identified are store environment and visual merchandise, airport service quality, passenger expectations, the influence of accompanying members during purchase, product category available at the airport impulse buying, and online engagement and price comparison. The inclusion of latent construct: online engagement and price comparison in the model is a humble contribution of this research study. 2. Empirical testing of factors influencing the purchase decision stage of the comprehensive model is done using binary logistic regression. Two separate models are analysed to understand the purchase decision of eatables and non-eatable products. 3. The subsequent stages of the conceptual model, i.e., purchase satisfaction and post-purchase intention, are also empirically validated using multiple linear regression. The influence of passengers’ demographic characteristics is also investigated. 4. The interaction effect on various factors of the purchase behaviour model was empirically tested using structural equation modelling. Mediation of purchase satisfaction and moderation of demographic characteristics were also investigated. Thus, overall, the study filled the void in the academic literature on domestic passenger purchase behaviour, in the context of developing economies like India.