Video: The ‘Generation EasyJet’ campaign
For the six months ended 31 March, EasyJet’s revenues increased 6.3 per cent to £1.7bn, while its losses before tax were £53m, down from £61m a year ago. EasyJet typically posts a loss in the first half, offsetting that with a profitable half in the lucrative summer holiday season.
The airline increased marketing spend to £53m, although average marketing per seat was basically flat at £1.69. Speaking on a results call this morning (13 May), marketing director Peter Duffy said EasyJet had a “good recession”, with tens of millions of customers trying out the airline and 95 per cent deciding to stick with EasyJet rather than going back to their previous preferred airline.
That, combined with its enhanced data capability that enables it to make relevant offers at the right time, has been “very successful”, he claimed, allowing the airline to focus its external marketing on consideration in key markets such as the UK and France. He claims up to one in three travellers now describe easyJet as their “preferred airline”.
“We are much more targeted in how we use our marketing spend. We spend much more efficiently and that is what has driven results,” he added.
EasyJet expects growth to continue, with second-half bookings already slightly ahead of last year and the airline forecasting sales to grow 6.7 per cent as a recovering European economy boost sales.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall hailed the introduction of customer initiatives including allocated seating and improvements to its mobile apps for helping drive up brand affinity and loyalty. EasyJet passenger numbers were up 4 per cent compared to a year ago.
Business customers in particular increased, up 8.4 per cent in the half. For the first time ever, EasyJet carried 12 million business passengers in the year, accounting for one in five of its 62 million customers.
McCall said: “Improving customer service and punctuality and gaining loyalty means we are in a strong position to take advantage of the recovery in the economy, meaning more people will take trips for business and leisure.”
Rival budget airline Ryanair has recently followed EasyJet’s lead by launching allocated seating and its own mobile apps. However, McCall says the two only overlap on around 5 per cent of routes and as such are not in direct competition.