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Online Travel Grows in BRIC Countries, but Habits Differ

The BRIC countries constitute four of the top five fastest-growing online travel markets

Online travel sales are a bellwether for B2C ecommerce, and the trajectory for online travel purchases in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) tells a unique story about each country’s overall consumer base, according to a new eMarketer report, “BRIC Travel Markets in Transition: Trends Influence Overall Ecommerce.”

The BRIC countries will have four of the five fastest-growing online travel sales markets during the 2011 to 2016 period, eMarketer predicts. And India’s five-year compound annual growth rate of 30.6% will put it atop the group.

Online travel sales in these countries anchor an overall shift from offline to online purchasing among consumers in their respective markets. Still, while Brazil, Russia, India and China have been rendered inseparable by their ubiquitous acronym, there’s a distinct difference in volume of online travel sales across these countries, underscored by marked variations in consumer behavior.

Among the pronounced trends differentiating the countries:

  • In Brazil, there is a narrow choice of travel products, which has limited consumers to primarily domestic travel.
  • Russia has by far the lowest online travel sales of the emerging countries, despite high GDP. But consumers there do overindex as avid internet travel researchers.
  • In India, consumers have been slow to adopt ecommerce generally, but travel is the exception. Online travel purchasing makes up more than three-quarters of overall ecommerce sales in India.
  • The number of online travel bookers in China still pales in comparison to the number of overall ecommerce buyers. But at $48 billion, according to eMarketer estimates, consumers in China will spend more on online travel in 2016 than the rest of BRIC combined.
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While it's clear that the BRIC countries share key characteristics as emerging markets, each has disparate digital and demographic trends affecting increases in online travel purchasing. Travel marketers expecting to capitalize on expanding sales volumes must understand the specific nature and nuances of each targeted consumer set.


The full report, “BRIC Travel Markets in Transition: Trends Influence Overall Ecommerce,” also answers these key questions:

  • What’s behind strong travel demand in the BRIC countries?
  • Why is travel in Brazil disproportionately domestic?
  • Why does Russia’s affluent traveler base spend so little online?
  • How is travel’s 80% share of ecommerce in India still increasing?
  • Is China’s online travel market already maturing?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Men Top Women in Mobile Buying” and “Banking Customers Turn to Online, Mobile for Transactions.”

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