Consumer mobile trends – browsing, booking and barriers

Following on from mobile behaviour studies for the US, Expedia Media Solutions has put together some numbers for the UK with the help of ComScore.

The research highlights current trends and highlights the opportunity for travel companies to take advantage of mobile because travellers now use mobile devices at all stages of the travel cycle.

UK v US:

The UK has a slightly higher mobile penetration than the US – 57% versus 52% and while Android is the leader in both markets (followed by iOS), Blackberry/Rim and Microsoft devices have a higher share in the UK than across the pond.

Tablet penetration is broadly the same – 27% UK v 26% US.

Online travel and mobile

UK consumers are using their tablets to visit travel sites in the evening with figures for visitors to this category notably higher than hits to other sites from tablets.

In addition, the UK outstrips the US in travel category reach from both mobile and PC – visits to travel sites from mobile devices was 69% and from PC 61% compared with 58% and 41%  respectively in the US.

The research also shows two-thirds of UK of visitors are accessing travel content via their mobile devices.

Apps v browser

Mobile applications are showing a higher growth year-on-year than visits to travel sites from browsers according to the research with the latter showing a 7% growth while apps shows a massive 127% increase.

45% of consumers have used an app to help plan travel and cite reasons such as ease of use and useful for finding information.

However, when it comes to actual booking, most reservations happen via  a browser according to the research.

expedia mobile

Booking on mobile

As per the graphic above, seven out of ten travellers who have booked on a smartphone would do so again the the coming year and 23% of all smartphone owners say they are likely to book via smartphone in the next year.

The figures are even higher for those who have booked via tablet and 45% of all tablet owners say they’re likely to book using the device in the coming year.

However, the majority of bookings still take place on a laptop or PC with 25% saying they booked a component of a recent trip via a mobile device.

Ease of booking via another device and security concerns are cited as the main barriers to booking via mobile device while screen size is the biggest challenge for booking via smartphone. Navigation was also cited as an issue for smartphones by 23%.


The study also looks at who or what is influencing consumers in their destination choice with family and friends coming out top for all travellers.

Air and hotel bookers are open to a wide range of influences with travel agency sites and apps, blogs, destination sites and travel agents all big contributors after friends and family.

For hotel only bookers, daily deal and group booking sites also emerged as a key influencer for 22% after friends and family, travel agency sites, apps and blogs.

Also, interesting to note that those booking hotel only are more likely to research on a mobile than those booking air.

On the trip

When it comes to devices they take while travelling, 66% say smartphone, 41% take a laptop and 37% take a tablet.

The top three activities carried out via mobile devices were checking the news, checking the weather and researching things to do.

While UK consumers post content across devices (phone, tablet, PC) during and after a trip, 21% say they lean towards smartphone for social media status updates compared with 15% and 12% respectively for tablet and PC.

The same goes for uploading photos to social networks.

However, for writing and uploading reviews 17% say they lean towards a PC compared to 9% for tablet and 6% for smartphone.

expedia mobile 2

The above graph shows how the mobile device ownership breaks down in terms gender, age and income with the 55+ category leaning towards tablets – 29% v the 22% for phones and the 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups opting for phone.

The Expedia research is drawn from a number of ComScore reports as well as a custom survey of consumers aged 18 or over who own a smartphone or tablet, had made a purchase online in the past year and had booked travel in the past six months.

NB: Mobile image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda is Managing Editor for tnooz. For the past decade, she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine. In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management, and research companies. Prior to her freelance career, she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. Hannah Samano

    A very informative article, thanks Linda. All of this highlights a huge shift towards the mobile, and the fact that individuals are wanting to use their devices both in the planning stage and in the travel stage itself. Booking agencies are already catering to this growth and many have advanced apps already in place. Since 66% of travellers take their smartphone with them on their actual travels, it would seem logical for hoteliers to make this move too; enabling guests to organise, plan and purchase using their devices whilst in the establishment seems like the next logical step for hotels to make.


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