Mobile device penetration in the US is contributing to a concurrent rise in usage among travelers. eMarketer estimates that 40% of digital travel researchers will plan trips via tablets and smartphones in 2013, and that more than one-quarter of digital travel bookers will buy on their mobile devices.
A survey of more than 1,200 US internet users from mobile ad platfrom JiWire corroborated that consumers looked to multiple devices in Q1 2013 to research and complete “travel-related” purchases—which included hotels, flights, restaurants and entertainment. Among US mobile Wi-Fi users surveyed, nearly half of respondents researched travel on both smartphones and tablets, while 27% booked on smartphones and 39% made travel purchases on tablets.
Many travelers remain more comfortable booking on a laptop, with 63% of mobile users purchasing travel via computer. However, only just more than one-third of travel bookers said that within the 90 days prior to the survey, they purchased travel exclusively on a laptop; 47% made travel-related purchases on multiple devices during that time.
While JiWire’s definition of “travel-related” includes small purchases such as entertainment tickets and restaurants, which could potentially overindex via mobile, the study found that consumers are getting more comfortable with larger price-tag purchases via tablets and smartphones as well. Forty-three percent of respondents said they’d be willing to spend up to $499 on travel buys; nearly one-quarter would spend between $500 and $999; and one in five mobile Wi-Fi users said they’d spend more than $1,000 on a mobile travel transaction.
Increases in both number and value of tablet and smartphone transactions will have significant influence on travel booking, but it doesn’t mean that PC travel purchases are going away anytime soon. Marketers must consider the interplay of these three platforms and incorporate multichannel campaigns that fit their customers’ cross-device shopping and buying habits.