Can’t Read Won’t Buy – Online Travel Consumer Insights
With an average of 52% of the online population falling within the “Not Likely” or “Won’t Buy” category for English-only travel and ticketing websites, that potentially leaves over US$1 trillion on the US$2.2 trillion table in the US$2.2 trillion global travel market. In this series of three articles I will share some strategies and tactics you can deploy to convert international visitors into loyal, long-term clients, but in this first article I thought I’d share some insights into the behaviors and preferences of international online consumers. Given the Asian focus of TBM I thought I would begin with Japan, China and Indonesia.
According to Common Sense Advisory (CSA), an independent research company focusing on the translation and localization industry, Japan leads the “Can’t Read Won’t Buy” pack, with 87% of Japanese online consumers claiming they would not purchase from an English-only website. Now consider this: over 80% of Japan’s population is online (105 million people) and the Japanese digital economy accounts for US$4.7 trillion, which means Japan accounts for 4.2% of the world’s online population and represents 10.5% of the planet’s web-influenced spending power. It’s not much different in China where 80% of Chinese online consumers report that Mandarin user reviews are essential to guide them to a purchasing decision. China currently ranks 37th out of 63 countries in the EF Language English Language Proficiency Index so this it’s hardly surprising that Mandarin takes center stage in any purchasing decision. Indonesia is the anomaly. It ranks 28th in the EF Language index, but because of the low volumes of Bahasa Indonesian web content, Indonesian’s are much more tolerant of Anglo-centric websites.
So the companies that recognise these facts are the ones that are reaping the rewards. Forrester Research state that the companies that deliver a localised experience are 400% more likely to convert visitors to customers, and site stickiness is doubled. So just what is needed to reach these not-so-cash-strapped consumers? To engage with 90% of the online population you will need offer your services in 13 languages. But when you consider only 34% of global travel companies have a defined multilingual strategy, language remains a barrier to serving international clients. In my next article I will cover the different strategies, tools and best practices that travel companies have adopted to reach this global audience. I will also share what strategies and tactics deliver the best return on investment, and why. Until then we have developed some resources that you can access as part of our series of articles with TBM which I hope will give you more context and can support your multilingual strategy.