Research Insights Led by Online Channel, Travel Surges in China

Led by Online Channel, Travel Surges in China

June 2012
David Juman

Led by Online Channel, Travel Surges in China

Clouds of uncertainty may hang over the global economy, but China has been a shining light for travel. China's travel market has undergone explosive growth and will nearly double between 2008 and 2013. A new Asia Pacific and Global Edition report from Phocuswright reveals that surging demand for travel products, along with significant commitments to the online space by some of the country's largest e-commerce and Internet players are driving phenomenal growth in China's travel industry, while other markets around the world have yet to fully shake off the effects of the recession.

According to Phocuswright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken, travel bookings in China will surpass US$105 billion in 2013, of which more than $15 billion will be made online. The online travel market will grow by some 500% between 2008 and 2013, fueled by rapid adoption of the Internet for commerce and a range of high-profile investments and partnerships among the country's leading Internet and online travel firms. In 2011, Baidu (the country's dominant search engine) became the majority shareholder in Qunar, the leading travel metasearch and trip-planning site, while leading Internet services provider Tencent and e-commerce giant Alibaba among others have invested aggressively in online travel.

"Online travel is hardly new in China, yet with such strong growth for the total travel market and rapidly changing consumer behavior, online travel is experiencing the raw, meteoric growth we have typically seen only in nascent online markets," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at Phocuswright. "Online travel is also unfolding with the distinct characteristics of China's unique Internet landscape. It is shaped not only by online travel agencies and supplier websites, but also by the major media portals, social networks, online shopping malls, online payment challenges and the need for offline support and fulfillment. Our report examines this enormous, but incredibly distinct opportunity for the global travel industry."

Phocuswright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken is a comprehensive analysis of China's dynamic travel marketplace. Market sizing and projections are based on revenues from suppliers such as airlines, hotels, car rental and rail companies, while interviews with key industry stakeholders provide insight into the key trends and challenges that characterize the market.

Report highlights include:
  • Total market and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings for 2009-2013
  • Bookings by major travel product segment – air, hotel, rail and car rental – along with analysis of key segment drivers and dynamics
  • Analysis of the explosive online travel market, including share by segment, online penetration and unique characteristics
  • Comparison of supplier-branded websites and online travel agencies (OTAs), including key players, bookings and projected growth rates through 2013
  • Role of traditional travel agencies and the continued importance of offline fulfillment
  • Examination of the OTA landscape – local versus global players, recent activity and comparison of business models and offerings
  • Impact of government policy and market regulation, social media, mobile, flash sales and traveler review websites
China's travel distribution landscape has evolved rapidly over the past five years, and continues to undergo considerable change. Phocuswright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken (US$895) provides the information and insight needed to understand this dynamic and frequently misunderstood market.