Travel Market Research

Market Research

Unprecedented economic growth and a burgeoning middle class: Fifteen years of market liberalization have affected India’s economic and travel market research. Key government-controlled industrial sectors have been transformed by the emergence of private players in the manufacturing and service sectors, and industry verticals such as automo­biles, telecommunications, electronics, financial services, pharmaceuticals, retail and petroleum are seeing double-digit growth rates. Today, India is the pre­ferred country for outsourcing informa­tion technology (IT) and IT Enabled Services, and the Indian economy is becoming a key part of the global value chain for goods and services.

Rapid growth of domestic consump­tion of goods and services: According to Visa International, India was the fast­est-growing credit card market in the APAC region in 4Q05, with card spend­ing increasing by 49% over the previ­ous year’s period. The country’s stock market has scaled record heights, and a generation of Indian entrepreneurs is coming of age to serve a middle class expected to comprise over 10% of the population by 2009. Average annual economic growth rates of 7% are cre­ating wealth and disposable income, particularly among the educated classes, and India is now regarded alongside China as one of the future growth engines for the world.

Travel Market Research

Increasing comfort with a demand for travel market research: Increased dispos­able income has fueled consumerism in India, and with it, demand for lei­sure travel among the middle class. An entire generation of leisure travelers is going abroad for holidays, or simply boarding a flight, for the first time. Globalization is driving inbound, out­bound and domestic travel in India. National tourism organizations from South Africa, the U.K. and APAC nations, among others, have aggres­sively targeted the Indian traveler to generate demand for their own markets, and outbound tour operators have cus­tomized elements of their products to the Indian demographic.

Growing Internet penetration despite slow uptake of broadband: A primary barrier to online travel and e-commerce in general in India is the absence of sig­nificant broadband penetration among households. Officially, only one million households have broadband access, and although the true figure could be higher (since not all providers report subscriber data), it is still a small slice of the online pie. The broadband market has not achieved traction on the scale seen in China, but rapid growth in broadband and Internet access is anticipated in the second half of 2006. The availability of high-speed Internet access in the corpo­rate environment has helped fuel online personal travel bookings. According to Indian Railways, the highest transac­tion volumes are registered on Mondays, with a gradual decrease through the week until traffic bottoms out over the weekend. According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of Internet users could more than double in two years, to as many as 100 million by 2007 according to travel market research.