The in-air audience….probably the most valuable advertising audience in the world

By James Myring

It’s time to talk about the in-flight audience – the citizens of the country in the sky, otherwise known as ‘Flyland’.

We recently conducted a study to look at this audience in more detail for HSBC. The results, projected to the 11.9 million people around the world flying on any given day, described Flyland – a country in the sky with a population larger than Cuba, Belgium or Sweden.

We’ve shared some of what we learned below. For more details on Flyland, you can also watch this short video by HSBC.

The in-air audience tend to be very frequent flyers

Someone who flies twenty times a year is twenty times more likely to be in the air on one particular day than someone who makes one trip a year.  It is no surprise, therefore, that the profile of the in-air audience skews heavily towards frequent fliers - they make an average of six and a half trips each year.

Frequent flyers are educated and affluent

From another study of international travellers, Media GPS, we found the typical international traveller is 45 years old, has a household income of $101,000 per year, $416,000 in liquid assets and is educated to degree level.

This educated and wealthy audience profile was remarkably similar between different regions of the world.

Europeans (on average) are considerably older and wealthier than Africans – but the profile of ‘in-air’ European residents and African residents is remarkably similar (although a far higher proportion of Europeans are flying internationally on any given day). 

Travellers are open to new experiences

When travelling, we are out of our day to day routine, and are often more open to new experiences (over half of travellers are actively looking to try new food and drink on any individual trip).

Crucially, it is one of the very few occasions where it possible to reach a senior, affluent, busy audience who actually have some time on their hands. It explains why our study conducted for HSBC found that, on an average flight of nearly 8 hours, our sample spent two hours consuming the in-flight entertainment system.

In addition, there are other locations where travellers can be a captive audience for advertisers – notably at airports, as well as when travelling to and from the airport.

The more people travel the more attractive to advertisers they are

For many types of media, the heaviest consumers are often seen as less attractive to advertisers. If you have a very busy work, family and/or social life, it is difficult to find the time to spend hours and hours consuming an array of media – even if you wanted to!

Anecdotally, we all know the ‘person who spends too much time on Facebook’, and the stereotype is not generally a positive one.

For in-flight media, the more you consume the more attractive (to advertisers!) you are. Greater travel frequency correlates to higher levels of income, wealth and seniority.

Source:  Media GPS 16,000 interviews

The in-air audience is hugely attractive for many reasons

  • The audience is highly desirable in terms of affluence and influence
  • Travellers are often open to new ideas and are a very captive audience
  • The more they consume, the more attractive they get!

Last but not least, with the explosive global growth of air travel that shows no sign of abating, Flyland is only set to become more and more important.

To understand more about this audience, take a look at our Global Traveller Omnibus, which allows low cost access to this hard-to-reach group.

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