Study: E-Commerce Shakes Up Travel Market

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Travel planning and booking are among the most popular online activities in major e-commerce markets, and online travel sales will surpass $115 billion this year in the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

These findings are in New York-based eMarketer's new "Online Travel Worldwide" report, which examines global market trends and spotlights data from the largest markets, including Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Australia/New Zealand and the United States, plus the huge emerging Chinese market.

The report notes that worldwide spending for personal travel is to reach $2.8 trillion in 2005, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, a London-based business forum for the travel-tourism industry.

"Without question, the Internet has shaken up the status quo in the travel industry," said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the report. "Traditional travel agencies are struggling to stay relevant, online travel agencies are trying to instill loyalty among their customers, travel search engines are the new upstarts, travel suppliers are flexing their muscles and global distribution systems are looking for ways to reverse their waning influence."

Merrill Lynch estimates included in the report show that direct travel suppliers will have a 54 percent share and online travel agencies a 46 percent share of the $62 billion U.S. online travel market in 2005.

Nielsen//NetRatings research found that 54 percent of online travel shoppers start planning at an online travel site because of the one-stop shopping convenience. Feedback Research also found that 73 percent of respondents who purchased travel online researched travel at a general site, but then went to a specific company's site to book travel, attributing their decision to lower prices and special deals.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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