Has the India Opportunity Finally Arrived?

Published September 2017 Analyst: Chetan Kapoor


The origins of online travel in India can be traced back to 2005. Access to the Internet was scarce, and electronic payments and online travel penetration levels were abysmally low. Twelve years later, the landscape is unrecognizable. The proliferation of affordable Android-powered smartphones, cheap 4G data services and mobile payments have sparked an online revolution. Sensing the tipping point of digital services, investors are aggressively backing digital companies across travel, online retail, payments, food deliveries, logistics, taxi bookings, education and more.

There are plenty of signals of bigger things to come. Indians already comprise one of the largest user bases on Facebook (241 million) and WhatsApp (200 million). Other Internet and financial behemoths such as Google, Amazon, Uber, Alibaba, SoftBank and Naspers have already invested and further committed billions of dollars to conquer the Indian opportunity.

Online travel remains India's largest e-commerce vertical. Online travel gross bookings will reach nearly US$10.8 billion this year. Online travel agencies (OTAs) account for a sizeable 44% of the total online travel market, and should be credited for moving mountains to enable Indians to book travel online.

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OTAs' success ultimately enabled MakeMyTrip and Yatra to list on the NASDAQ in 2010 and 2016, respectively. China's leading OTA Ctrip invested $180 million in MakeMyTrip in January 2016, prior to orchestrating the latter's merger with rival ibibo Group, the operator of leading online travel brands Goibibo and redBus. And just when the incumbents thought they had cornered the market, budget hotel franchise upstarts such as OYO Rooms, Treebo and FabHotels are bringing sweeping changes to India's fragmented lodging segment. Founded in 2013, OYO has raised close to $436 million and boasts of 6,500 hotels with 70,000 rooms on its platform.

Phocuswright's India Online Travel Overview Tenth Edition provides complete coverage of one of online travel's hottest geographies, including market sizing and forecasting across all travel segments and channels, and in-depth analysis of India's key online players and their prospects for the years ahead.

Hear From India's Online Travel Leaders

Executives from Ctrip, MakeMyTrip and OYO take the stage at November's Phocuswright Conference … register today to gain insight from the executive interviews and explore a startup's rise.