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eMarketer estimates worldwide digital travel sales—which include leisure and unmanaged business travel sales booked via any device—will rise 13.8% in 2016 to nearly $565 billion. Double-digit growth in emerging markets, particularly those in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, will help fuel gains throughout the forecast period, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “ Worldwide Digital Travel Sales: The Complete eMarketer Forecast for 2016” (eMarketer PRO customers only).
North America will be the world's largest market for digital travel sales this year. But in 2017, eMarketer expects Asia-Pacific will claim this title, one year earlier than previously estimated. Faster expansion of digital travel commerce in China will primarily drive this gain.
Stronger-than-expected sales gains in Asia-Pacific have also led eMarketer to raise its growth estimates for worldwide digital travel sales for each year of the forecast period.
Furthermore, low oil prices, which are helping to keep fuel costs down, have allowed airlines to pass along savings to consumers in the form of cheaper airfares. This has resulted in increased demand for travel globally and, consequently, a boost in airline profitability. According to a December 2015 report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global passenger air travel grew 6.7% in 2015 and will climb another 6.9% in 2016. With fuel prices expected to remain low this year, the IATA anticipates another boost in 2017. eMarketer predicts worldwide digital travel sales will see double-digit growth through 2018.
However, in dollar figures, estimates for digital travel sales in every major region (except Asia-Pacific) have been revised downward as a result of fluctuating exchange rates, which have been updated to reflect average rates in 2015. Global currencies of most major markets included in eMarketer's forecast have weakened in 2015 against the US dollar, leading to numerous reductions to travel sales forecasts.
And overall, worldwide digital travel sales will rise 13.8% in 2016 to reach $564.87 billion. Growth will continue steadily throughout 2020.
eMarketer PRO customers can view the full report here.
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