Mobile bookings skyrocket in APAC

September 10th, 2014 | | news

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 1.07.56 pmOne quarter of the total Asia Pacific (APAC) travel market was booked online in 2013, up from one fifth in 2012. And according to PhoCusWright’s Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition, mobile penetration is also growing as telecom infrastructures increase and more countries adopt 4G/LTE networks.

Although online travel penetration is increasing at a slower pace than in prior years, a new PhoCusWright study shows that APAC’s online bookings are increasing at twice the rate of the overall market.

This growth rate is expected to continue through 2016, when nearly one-third of APAC travel will be booked online. 
Suppliers and online intermediaries across the region are driving this adoption as they tap pent-up demand into the under-penetrated, emerging online travel markets of China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan.

Additionally, online travel agencies (OTAs) are incentivising travellers to book online with discounts and promotional offers.
 Mobile bookings are growing even faster, and travel suppliers are adapting their distribution strategies to compete for smartphone bookings.

“Mobile is a quickly emerging key channel in the region,” says PhoCusWright research analyst, Maggie Rauch. “Aggregate APAC mobile travel gross bookings doubled from US$3.2 billion in 2012 to $6.4 billion in 2013. And there are plentiful opportunities ahead – 30 per cent of the region’s population is expected to have a smartphone by 2016, a sharp increase from 19 per cent in 2013”. However is ought be remembered that mobile booking still only makes up 2% of total gross travel bookings across the APAC region.

Most of APAC’s travel markets grew in local currency terms, but weakened exchange rates had a dampening effect across the region. APAC total travel gross bookings shrunk from $325.9 billion in 2012 to $322.6 billion in 2013, slipping one spot behind Europe’s travel market.

However, assuming stable foreign exchange conditions, the region is expected to bypass Europe in 2014 to reclaim its title as the world’s largest regional travel market. According to the report, APAC’s electrifying climb to the top of the global travel industry is being driven by bustling economies and a growing middle class with an appetite for travel.

Other research in the report includes:

  • Mobile travel market sizing for 2013 and projections for 2014 to 2016, including sales from both the mobile, web and applications;
  • Sizing and gross bookings of the regions’ airlines, hotels, car rental companies, railways and online travel agencies;
  • Key trends affecting the size and development of the total and online travel markets of China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand; and
  • Key findings on the region’s OTAs, including accommodation sales, start-ups, mobile share and expansion.

PhoCusWright’s latest Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview can be purchased at

Have you seen an increase in the number of mobile bookings your business receives? Have your say.

Written by Kris Madden