Most of last week and so far this week I’ve been kind of doing a tour of South America, stopping to visit various airlines along the way to discuss e-commerce trends. Today I had a great meeting with a group of seven airline employees (representing loyalty, revenue management, distribution and of course online direct) where we spent the meeting talking almost exclusively about mobile. One of the charts I showed was this recent one from Google’s AdMob division. 

Note that the numbers are not actual wide ranging mobile internet traffic, but the growth in AdMob’s traffic. The growth in that business is probably in most cases faster than the actual market growth, but it is a reasonably good proxy. For example, a more general statistic for the growth in mobile internet had Brazil at 500% for 2010, but either way you look at it, mobile internet growth is going through the roof and will only continue its ascent. GOL is predicting Brazilian domestic air demand will be up 15% this year, so if the rest of the region is anywhere near as dynamic, then add mobile growth and segment growth together and 2011 will be a great year for online travel in Latin America. Hopefully that also means a great year for airline direct. Unfortunately on this trip all I saw of Brazil was Sao Paulo airport whilst waiting for a connecting flight, so I didn’t get to witness the fastest growing mobile internet market first hand. Next time.

Following on with the Google theme from earlier, here is a great mobile related quote I saw today:

Two-thirds of all purchases and half of transactions will occur on mobile devices by 2015, Google executives said February 4. Consumer coupons will also transition from their current rate of 80% push to 80% opt-in four years from now, said David Shapiro, Google’s director of small business marketing.

I’ll probably be posting some other observations in coming weeks from what I’ve seen of South American airline e-commerce, but overall I’ve learned a lot and met some great people. And I’ve still got one more business dinner before it is back to snowy Chicago. Best picture I’ve seen so far of the massive blizzard that I missed by one day can be seen here.

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