February 27 2024  |  Industry News

m1nd-set reveals shopping engagement behavior among Indian travelers

By Laura Shirk

International traffic from India is expected to surpass 75 million passengers in 2024

m1nd-set data reveals Indians demonstrate above average tendencies when it comes to staff engagement, stylishness and singularity.

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

Data on the Indian travel market and shopper behavior indicates that Indian travelers are significantly more likely to interact with sales staff than global travelers. 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 various unique traits among Indian travelers and shoppers, including, shopper profiles and demographics, footfall and conversion, category purchasing behavior and spend per category, comparing behavior 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.

The top three purchase drivers for Indian shoppers are consistent with the global trend, namely value for money, convenience and brand loyalty

Focusing on the various purchase drivers, destinations and influencing factors, the m1nd-set Indian travel market and shopper behavior research shows 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 staff interaction 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 m1nd-set. Indian shoppers are more susceptible to purchase 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 explains, “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 behavioral aspect, which overshadows the tendency among global shoppers is the desire for differentiation. Seventeen percent 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 should be an opportunity to tap into the Indians quest for singularity and stylishness. Staff training programs should focus on all of these various cultural, social, and behavioral differences between the various nationalities, so staff know how to engage and what is more likely to influence the purchase decision.” 

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 travelers, 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 travelers are at 130% of pre-COVID levels and are 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 nine, seven and five million Indian arrivals, respectively; this will be followed by Thailand and Saudi Arabia, each with four million, and the U.S. with three million passengers from India. Kuwait, Australia and Malaysia will each receive two million Indian passengers, and Qatar one 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 realizing 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 behavior.” 

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