Programs: US*S, Fairmont Plat, Marriott Plat, HH Gold, SPG Gold, IC Gold Amb
For me it was probably a ~HK$3200 Tissot at HKG. Back when I had some time to kill in the airport and was earning more money than I knew what to do with. The most overpriced thing I've ever bought though was a PC day pass once upon a time at EWR just to use the shower. I don't mind buying the occasional small thing at the airport (I won't buy another watch again though) because it's so convenient.
The thing is, particularly in Asia because of the mainland Chinese customers, there is a big demand for duty-free luxury goods which are taxed to oblivion in countries like China. That's why you will see so many mainland Chinese set out on shopping trips to HKG and SEL and they were probably a huge contributing factor to how ICN got the world's first airport LV store. It may sound crazy, but there are actually (a few) people who go on airport shopping trips from China. I read somewhere that they were even thinking of opening a shop in ICN specifically for non-Korean customers because there were some Chinese who were complaining about there being too many Koreans in the shops.
It's usually stuff I've forgotten at home. Spending $12 on a pocket-sized hairbrush is ridiculous to me. Or $4 for a bag of chips. Or the $5 bottle of water. If only I hadn't forgotten my disposable Bic razor, because now I'm buying one for $6.99. Or, when my back was turned, the $24 of saved up allowance money my 10 year old son spent on a "super hero souvenir figure". I could go on and on.....
What's the most expensive thing you've bought at the airport?
Not me, but a colleague bought a full home theatre system at Dubai Duty Free a couple years ago. About half the price of buying it in his home country. They delivered it properly boxed up to the gate and Emirates gate-checked it.
Food and drink mostly for me.
Used to buy these M&Ms tubes with a figure on them for around €5 each but didn't see any last time I was flying.
Alcohol etc is generally cheaper in a supermarket and don't smoke so no interest in tobacco products.
Electronics wise, by the time I get to the airport, I've got my phone with music on or my laptop, tablet etc so don't really need anything else (unless a power adaptor is required).
Prefer to buy at my destination or get things sent to my hotel as they can be a lot cheaper i.e. Bose QC15? headphones generally around £279-299 in the UK. £250 in Dixons tax free at Heathrow or Gatwick. £200 from Amazon (USA) - not sure about US aiport prices.
Never seen the point of buying clothes especially when you've checked your luggage in and now have to wander around with more bags. I suppose the last minute touristy "I love NYC" t-shirt might be useful but buying other things, no (suppose you could be passing through and need a new shirt for a meeting or you can't wash the existing one).
Same with luggage. I've checked my suitcase in so why would I want to buy an empty one that may now need to be checked as well - easier to buy in a store and ditch the old one if need be.
I often wondered buying iPods at the airport. Unless it is going to be a gift, how would you load anything on to it (before the wifi ipod touches came out)?
From your laptop or if you had another mp3 you may copy the music off that to your laptop and then to the ipad. Or you wait until you got home. For many, it's just easier to buy it when you are standing there than going to a local store and paying probably the same money to buy it, much less hassle.
Not counting airline tickets, for me it was probably a set of Bose headphones. They are pretty much the same price everywhere so it really doesn't matter much where you get them, and at the table outside one of the airline clubs once they were offering a decent amount of bonus miles.
That and the old ones had like one trip left in them till it was time to toss them.