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.