According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 Global Consumer Survey, 39% of Asia-Pacific consumers, and 40% of Middle East & African consumers, typically use price comparison websites when booking holidays. Consumers from these two regions are significantly more likely to use price comparison websites than any other region, suggesting consumers in developing economies are more price-conscious than those in the west.
Price comparison websites offer convenience by presenting a multitude of personalised options for holidays immediately to the consumer. Higher usage in developing nations can be attributed to lower levels of urbanisation when compared to Europe and North America. Growing middle classes across Africa and Asia-Pacific are also encouraging younger populations to increasingly customise their shopping habits.
For more mature markets in the west, consumers are likely to be more ‘inelastic’, therefore choosing travel arrangements based on reasons beyond price. This may include habits to “shop around” for hotels and flights that perhaps may not even appear on price comparison websites.
Trip.com (formerly Ctrip) has been a huge success story, becoming the largest online travel agency in China; and one of the largest travel service providers in the world. This can be attributed to expansions in China’s lower-tier cities, with low-star hotel room-nights increasing about 60% year-on-year.
This suggests consumers in previously under-served areas are likely to increase their travel consumption when infrastructure opens up market access for them. Price comparison websites like Trip.com are catering to a previously underserved segment of the world, supporting outbound travel for a wider range of global consumers.
Source: GlobalData 2019 Q3 Global Consumer Survey