In a cross-pond comparison, Europe topped the U.S. in online leisure and unmanaged business travel bookings in 2008 and will continue to retain a lead in 2010, according to PhoCusWright's European Online Travel Overview Sixth Edition and PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Tenth Edition.
PhoCusWright reported that during the 2009 downturn, online travel proved more resilient than offline channels in both the U.S. and Europe. But while U.S. online leisure/unmanaged business travel fell 5 percent, the European market held onto a slight 1.5 percent gain.
In 2010, European online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings will grow 10.5 percent to reach €73.4 billion (US$97.4), staying just ahead of the U.S. at $96.9 billion.
Although Europe's online penetration lags behind the U.S., the gap continues to close, and Europe's larger total travel market offers room to grow. In 2009, Europe's online leisure/unmanaged business penetration of 31 percent was nearly eight percentage points behind the U.S. In 2010, the gap is expected to close substantially to just under five percentage points, PhoCusWright reports.
Europe is projected to continue its gain on the U.S. over the next several years as markets that have been slower to adopt online booking continue to develop.