Travel Industry News

Population Growth

These increases are all the more dramatic because the online travel industry news population itself has grown, given the increasing reach of the Web. Today, 66% of the nation’s air travelers are online, up from 56% a year ago. As a result, online travelers comprise 22% of the nation’s adult population, up from 18% in 1998 – an increase of eight million individuals in the potential online travel market. In summary, there are now 43 million online travelers in the U.S., up from 35 million a year ago; the increase was caused almost entirely by greater Web usage (as opposed to more air travel) (see Table 2). Twenty-five million of these online travelers have bought something online, up from 15 million in 1998 – a 67% increase. More dramatically, 11 million of them have bought travel online, up from six million – an 83% increase in online travel purchasers in a single year.

Travel Industry News

Rising Confidence

Remarkable as it is, the growth in online travel industry news purchasing should not be a surprise: the PhoCusWright 1998 Travel eCommerce Survey found enormous promise for the future of online travel as air travelers gained Web experience and familiarity, and as their fears of credit card security eased. The new data show dramatically that those conditions are being met.


Credit card worries are down. The number of online travelers who

"worry about credit card security in an online transaction" has fallen

sharply, from 82% in 1998 to 67% in 1999. And now fewer than half,

48%, are "strongly" worried about credit card security, down from a 57%

majority in 1998.

Price comparisons are favorable. In 1998, just 39% of online travelers

felt that "prices online are usually better than prices in a store." Now,

54% think so.

Trust is up. In 1998, fewer than half of online travelers, 49%, felt they

could "trust a lot of the companies doing business online." Today, 61%

trust online merchants.

Help is there. In 1998, fewer than half of online travelers, 49%,

thought they could get personal help if something went wrong with an

online transaction. Now, 58% are confident that help is at hand should a

problem arise


Seventy-two percent still worry about their personal privacy in an online transaction (down seven points from 1998). Seventy-six percent would rather talk to a knowledgeable salesperson in a store before buying a complicated product (little changed in the year). And credit card qualms, though down, still command a sizable majority. However, objections to eCommerce are far lower among people who’ve taken the plunge. For example, credit card worries absorb 86% of those who’ve never made an online purchase, but just 54% of those who have bought anything online, and 45% of those who’ve bought travel industry news. These fears dissipate substantially in the face of actual experience.