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Vietnamese increasingly using mobiles to purchase travel

Released at: 10:35, 01/08/2017

Vietnamese increasingly using mobiles to purchase travel

Photo: Archives

Mobile travel sales growing at 22.4% CAGR and outpacing growth in online travel sales of 18.3% CAGR.

by Hong Nhung

Though only 7 per cent of overall online travel sales were made on mobile phones in Vietnam in 2016, such sales grew rapidly from 2013-2016, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) rate of 58.1 per cent, and present the biggest growth opportunity, the latest Criteo-commissioned study conducted by Euromonitor International has found.

The new findings were recently revealed by Criteo, a performance marketing technology company. Euromonitor International surveyed 150 Vietnamese to analyze the online travel landscape as well as browsing and purchasing behavior in the country to help travel businesses and online travel agents (OTAs) identify and adopt digital strategies to engage travelers throughout their purchase journey.

The research revealed that travel remains an area Vietnamese are devoted to. In 2016, they took 6.9 million outbound trips and 52.8 million domestic trips, while expenditure on leisure and recreation is expected to grow 7.7 per cent CAGR from 2017-2020.

Online travel sales have grown 18.3 per cent CAGR in the 2011-2016 period and totaled over $27 million in 2016, but were outpaced by mobile travel sales, which will see double-digit growth of 22.4 per cent CAGR from 2017-2020.

“Travel expenditure in Vietnam will rise rapidly due to increasing disposable incomes and growing middle-class affluence,” said Mr. Alban Villani, General Manager, Criteo Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. “Vietnam is a mobile-first society. The number of smartphone users in Vietnam this year is estimated to reach 28.5 million and will increase to 37.8 million in 2020.”

“Travel websites and OTAs therefore need to focus on providing a mobile experience that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, has add-on features, and has secure payment methods. To drive transactions, they need to engage with shoppers during the discovery, search and booking phases, and re-engage them across all devices after they have left the websites.”

Online and mobile browsing behavior

While browsing online, all shoppers used a combination of OTAs, vendors’ own websites, or app and online travel price aggregators. Across all age groups, laptops are the most preferred device for online browsing of travel products and services, at 45 per cent, followed by smartphones at 30 per cent and desktops at 19 per cent.

Of those who choose to browse with their smartphones instead of laptops or desktops, two-thirds said it is more convenient and 79 per cent said it allows them to do so on-the-go.

Engaging with shoppers during the discovery and purchase stages

According to Criteo’s research, Vietnamese took an average of 5.6 trips each in the last 12 months, with 61 per cent taking five or fewer trips, with almost half being mid-length stays of between three to six days. Seventy-eight per cent of Vietnamese booked their trip four weeks or less before departure and they were most likely to do so while at home (88 per cent) on weekdays, although they would also browse on weekends (43 per cent).

Online and mobile strategies are crucial for retailers and OTAs to engage with shoppers while they browse and book travel and ancillaries. Ninety-nine per cent of shoppers have seen retargeted ads and 89 per cent have clicked on them.

“As online and mobile purchases become more commonplace, travel businesses and OTAs need to invest more in personalized marketing,” said Mr. Villani. “This means showing shoppers ads that are based on what they have been looking at and displaying recommendations that may complement what they have already purchased.”

“This adds another element of discovery, and up to 70 per cent of online shoppers who are served ads in this way go on to view products they had not looked at previously. Retailers who get this right will be able to drive online conversions very effectively.”

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