Amid China's Torrid Online Travel Market Growth, Intermediaries Stand Out

Published January 2013 Analyst: Douglas Quinby


Amid China's Torrid Online Travel Market Growth, Intermediaries Stand Out

If China's economy is slowing, no one told the country's online travel market. Visitors to travel websites in China are increasing nearly six times faster than total Internet traffic, with growth among the country's online travel agencies and metasearch sites leading the charge.

According to Phocuswright's China Online Travel Traffic Report Second Edition, created in partnership with comScore, fewer than one in five Internet users in China visited a travel website in 2Q12 – making travel among the country's smallest online categories. Yet online travel traffic during the quarter was greater than that in Australia, India and Japan combined. Visitors to travel websites in China jumped 40% year over year in 2Q12, compared to 7% growth for total Internet traffic.

"Double and triple-digit gains are commonplace for travel websites across nearly all categories, including airline and hotel websites," said Douglas Quinby, Phocuswright's senior director, research. "But it is online intermediaries who are delivering exceptional growth, led in particular by China's leading metasearch site Qunar."

Traffic to half of the 10 most visited Chinese OTAs grew in triple digits between 2Q11 and 2Q12, led by packaged travel specialist Tuniu, whose monthly unique visitors surged more than 300%. Travel metasearch site Qunar saw its traffic nearly triple in 2Q12 following the company's acquisition by Baidu in June 2011. And while supplier websites attract the smallest share of China's online travel traffic, visitation to both the hotel and airline categories roughly doubled between 2Q11 and 2Q12.

Phocuswright's China Online Travel Traffic Report Second Edition measures and analyzes web traffic across the travel category in China. The report uses comScore data to analyze traffic – including unique visitors, cross-visitation, and source/loss patterns – across key travel subcategories. The online travel traffic patterns highlighted in this report illuminate sector-specific dynamics and track both transactional and non-transactional subcategories within the Chinese online travel market.

Topics include:

  • Traffic to key travel website categories with in-depth analysis of 2Q12 including:
    • Online travel agencies
    • Airlines
    • Hotels
    • Metasearch
    • Traveler review sites
  • Travel website rankings within each travel category, including average monthly unique visitors and annual change
  • Comparison of traffic to supplier websites versus OTAs and non-transactional sites
  • In-depth analysis of key online players, including cross-visitation, source and loss traffic
Purchase Phocuswright's China Online Travel Traffic Report Second Edition to understand the travel categories and key players fueling growth in China's dynamic online travel market.

NOTE: This pre-release publication is expected to publish February 9.