Online travel loses market share to retail

UK travel companies are suffering a slump in online traffic, according to Hitwise. It says travel companies have fallen down the rankings, as e-retailers such as Amazon continue to gain market share.

The biggest travel seller online remains Expedia, ranked 8th in the Hitwise Top 50, with easyJet, Ryanair and Thomson close behind.

The number of trips abroad taken by Britons fell in March for the fifth consecutive month, according to the web research company. In November, 2008 - traditionally one of the quietest months for travel - some 5.49m trips were taken abroad. However, by March, when travel usually picks up, the figure had fallen to 5.01m.

In the first quarter of 2009, 14 percent less trips were taken compared to the same period last year. Travel giants Tui and Thomas Cook both confirmed sales are down by 12-14 per cent this year.

Most recently, Stansted airport saw passenger numbers fall by 20 per cent over the Spring Bank Holiday compared to last year.


Hitwise chief exectuive James Roper said UK shoppers would spend £50 billion online this year.

And the latest online shopping trend, he said, is cross-border trading, with UK retailers looking to exploit the weak pound and entice overseas shoppers - as outbound travel sales online decline.