On World Tourism Day, observed on September 27, IndiaLends, a prominent online platform for personal loans and credit cards, unveiled the second edition of its report titled "IndiaLends’ TravelToGrow." This report delves into how the youth in India are utilizing credit products to invest in their travel experiences.
According to the IndiaLends study, there has been an astonishing five-fold increase in credit card applications tailored for travel in the past year. With a customer base exceeding 17 million members, IndiaLends observed that 50 per cent of all credit card applications were for travel-focused credit cards starting from the 2022 travel season. What's intriguing is the significant surge in demand from female travellers, accounting for 52 per cent of these applications. In contrast, loan applications for travel purposes have doubled.
The online loans and cards aggregator gathered these insights from September 2022 through August 2023.
Remarkably, the previous year witnessed a tenfold growth in loan applications for travel and a sixfold increase in travel-specific credit card applications. This shift in trend underscores people's strong desire to travel. Individuals are using credit to invest in enriching travel experiences while also capitalizing on the rewards and benefits provided by credit cards to partially or fully finance their wanderlust.
Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO, IndiaLends, said, “Travel is an integral part of life for many, one of the top aspirations fuelled by our Indian cinema and social media. Given the remarkable growth we are witnessing in our travel-centric credit cards, today's younger generation is actively focused on establishing a strong credit history while making savvy use of the reward programs linked to credit cards. With the upcoming festive and holiday season, just like last year, we expect a significant surge in applications for travel-specific credit cards by the end of CY 2023.”
In the past year, IndiaLends has observed that approximately 48 per cent of its applications for travel-oriented credit cards originated from members aged 24 to 35, while 52 per cent were from members aged 36 to 45. Geographically, this upsurge in applications is most pronounced in major metropolitan areas, with Bengaluru leading at 30 per cent, followed by New Delhi at 26 per cent, Mumbai at 20 per cent, Hyderabad at 12 per cent, and the remainder coming from non-metro cities. IndiaLends also noted a significant increase in credit card applications during March, leading up to the holiday season, as well as from September to December, aligning with the festive, year-end, and wedding seasons.
“With the growing popularity of travel-focused credit cards, it is crucial to manage credit cards responsibly, ensuring on-time payments and avoiding high balances to avoid potential debt and financial challenges,” added Chopra.
Among the most frequently sought-after credit cards on the IndiaLends platform, the Axis Bank Vistara credit card, American Express Platinum Travel card, and SBI ELITE card credit have emerged as the preferred choices among travellers. It is evident that their preferences lean towards credit cards offering robust reward programs and comprehensive travel-related benefits.
Ankit Khurana, Chief Marketing Officer, IndiaLends, said, “Looking at the consumer trend, it is apparent that today's youth are not looking at travel just as leisure but as a profound way to create cherished memories and personal growth. This trend is amplified by changing lifestyles that prioritise experiences over material possessions, growing awareness among consumers, and the availability of personalised card options tailored to the preferences of different travellers.”
Moreover, the data also illustrates how these travel-focused cards have seamlessly integrated into people's daily routines to maximize the advantages they offer. Notably, 38 per cent of users utilized their travel-specific cards for their everyday expenditures over a year, accumulating reward points in the process. Among this group, approximately 22 per cent redeemed these reward points for a complimentary domestic flight ticket. This approach not only made their travel experiences more economical but also demonstrated a pragmatic way to derive the most value from their spending, whether it be for a vacation or routine purchases.