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m1nd-set: India set to become the fourth largest global travel spender by 2030

Spending

India’s burgeoning middle class and unique shopper behavior poised to significantly impact the global travel and retail sectors.

Over the next five to six years, India will represent the fourth largest spender on travel globally. In 2030 India’s middle class will constitute nearly half of the subcontinent’s population.

Research on the Indian travel market and shopper behaviour by Swiss research agency m1nd- set reveals that Indian travellers are significantly more likely to interact with sales staff than global travellers. Their penchant for trendy brands and differentiation also emerges as a more important factor for Indian shoppers compared to the global average.

The research reveals the various unique traits among Indian travellers and shoppers, including, shopper profiles and demographics, footfall and conversion, category purchasing behaviour and spending per category, comparing the Indian behaviour with the global trend in each section. The research also unveils where and how Indian consumers seek their information about shopping as well as what the key influencing elements are that encourage and entice Indian consumers to purchase.

Focusing on the various purchase drivers, destinations and influencing factors, the m1nd-set Indian travel market and shopper behaviour research reveals that the interaction level among Indian shoppers is significantly higher than the global average; so too is the impact of those interactions. Around two-thirds (65%) of Indian shoppers interacted with the shop staff on their last international trip compared to less than half (47%) of global shoppers. The impact of the interaction by staff when engaging with Indian shoppers is clearly significant and well above average. More than eight out of ten (82%) of Indian shoppers said the interaction positively impacted their decision to purchase compared to the global average of 71%.

The top three purchase drivers for Indian shoppers are consistent with the global trend, namely value for money, convenience and brand loyalty, according to the m1nd-set research. Indian shoppers are more susceptible to purchasing products that stand out as trendy or unique when shopping in Duty Free and Travel Retail.

Owner and CEO at m1nd-set, Dr. Peter Mohn explained: “Indian shoppers place considerable importance on the stylishness of brands when shopping in the travel retail environment. Almost twice as many Indian shoppers – 19% compared to 10% among global shoppers – highlighted this aspect as important to them when shopping. Another behavioural aspect, which overshadows the tendency among global shoppers is the desire for differentiation. 17% of Indian shoppers highlighted this compared to only 11% of global shoppers. Almost double the number of Indians also mentioned the importance of Duty Free exclusives compared to global shoppers.”

The above-average tendency of Indian shoppers to engage, Mohn continued “should be an opportunity to tap into the Indians quest for singularity and stylishness. Staff training programmes should focus on all these various cultural, social, and behavioural differences between the various nationalities, so staff know how to engage and what is more likely to influence the purchase decision” Mohn added.

The research, which also focuses on the current and future travel trends among Indians highlights significant opportunities for destinations targeting the outbound Indian travel market. Outbound international traffic is back on track among Indian travellers, surpassing the 2019 level already in 2023 by more than 2 million passengers. According to m1nd-set’s B1S data in partnership with IATA, there were nearly 69 million trips by Indian passengers in 2023, compared to 66.5 million in 2019. In 2024, international traffic from India is expected to surpass 75 million passengers. 2024 international passenger numbers among Indian travellers are at 130% of pre-covid levels and is expected to grow to 171% within the next two years.

The top destination markets by country for Indian passengers this year will be the UAE, Singapore and the UK with 9, 7 and 5 million Indian arrivals respectively, followed by Thailand and Saudi Arabia, each with 4 million, and the US with 3 million passengers from India. Kuwait, Australia and Malaysia will each receive 2 million Indian passengers and Qatar 1 million.

Highlighting the opportunity the Indian outbound travel market represents, Mohn said, “As the Indian middle-class takes to the skies in larger numbers and with increased purchasing power over the coming years, they will represent a significant opportunity for brands and retailers.

Tourism markets, in Asia Pacific in particular, are realising the potential that India’s outbound travel market will represent and are adapting their visa policies accordingly. The research demonstrates all the major destination markets, where Indians are and will be flocking to.

Retailers with operations in these markets will reap the rewards, particularly if they have a deep understanding of Indian shopper behaviour” Mohn concluded.

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George, in his capacity as an intern, diligently oversees the flow of news, assists in the publication of content, and delves into the strategies of social media distribution. He is currently pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

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