There’s still some appetite for buying travel services in person. But not much
January 6th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

There’s still some appetite for buying travel services in person. But not much

With more and more consumers making a move to digital buying channels, the role of brick-and-mortar stores has become more fluid. But the IRL experience – and demand for it – differs between sectors.

A new YouGov survey of 18 international markets reveals some interesting differences in consumer buying habits across different product categories.

According to the data from the survey, traditional offline shopping is still more popular than online shopping across most product and service categories, especially in the case of groceries (60%), clothes (52%) and vehicles (52%). This could be due to the lack of standardisation and conformity across these categories making it more beneficial for people to see and compare products in person before making any purchase.

On the other hand, consumers are far more likely to shop online for insurance, travel services and video games, with less than a fifth saying that they would prefer to buy these products and services from a physical store – 18%, 14% and 10%, respectively.

When we look closely at the data for travel services, we can see some regional differences.

More than a fifth of consumers in UAE (22%) say they prefer to purchase travel services in-person rather than online. Consumers in India (22%) - outliers in the APAC region – say the same.

The other APAC markets, however, are more likely to adopt digital shopping for travel services. While fewer than a fifth of consumers in Australia (17%), Hong Kong (15%) and China (16%) say they prefer to buy travel services from physical establishments, this number falls below the global average in Singapore (13%) and Indonesia (12%).

European markets share similarly disparate views when it comes to buying travel services. While consumers in some markets (Spain, 19%; France, 17%) veer slightly more towards offline shopping - overtaking the global audience - others are more likely to go digital, especially in Sweden (11%), GB (10%) and Denmark (8%) - the lowest of all markets.

Less than a tenth of consumers in the US (9%) prefer to shop for travel services from physical stores, unlike their counterparts in Mexico (15%) and Canada (16%).

Though some international markets are slow in their shift towards online shopping of travel services, as the data suggests, digitisation seems to be the inevitable future for vendors of such services.

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 514 and 2,004 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in July 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.