Mobile more important to travellers than deodorant

A comprehensive global study from Egencia and Expedia confirms, as if there were any doubt, that mobile devices are “indispensable” for leisure and business travellers alike.

The Expedia/Egencia Mobile Index is based on a total sample of some 10,000 travellers, with 500 or so from 19 different countries asked a series of questions.

The topline global finding is that a mobile phone is “the single most indispensable item [travellers] carry with them, ahead of their toothbrush, deodorant and driver’s license.”

This applies to business and leisure travellers, and it is travellers from China, Thailand and Taiwan for whom their smartphone is the most important.

Expedia shared the full data with Tnooz, which opens up some interesting country-specific findings.

For leisure travel, the most used functions on a global scale are navigation, taking photos and engaging with social media. Travellers from South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand lead the way, respectively.

With a nod to monetization of in-trip device usage, the three nationalities most likely to use a booking app to change or check itineraries are the Chinese, South Korean and Japanese.

Questions about the use of restaurant review and booking apps shows that Chinese and Malaysian travellers are the most likely users.

Findings about device ownership didn’t make it into the press release, but are interesting nonetheless. Mexicans top the percentages when it comes to owning both a smartphone and a tablet; the Japanese seem to be a mono-device culture, recording the highest percentage when it comes to owning a smartphone but not a tablet, and also top the table when it comes to owning a tablet but not a phone.

Brits, Germans and the Taiwanese  are the three countries whose travellers are most likely to own neither a phone or a tablet, although Brits are the second most likely to own an e-reader after the Chinese.

The study also took a consumer-y turn by asking the sample about what mobile-related behaviours were the most annoying. Overall the top gripes are playing music or games without headphones, calls using speakerphones and taking videos or photos of strangers.

By country, it is interesting to note that travellers from Sweden are most sensitive to mobile etiquette as they are the most likely to be annoyed in all three of the above categories.

Meanwhile Brits, Australians and Americans expressed the lowest level of concern over mobile devices being used to take pictures of strangers.

Finally, roaming charges are often the elephant in the room when it comes to mobile device use on vacation, so the sample was asked whether they look for and use “free” wifi hotspots to get connected. Around 70% do so, with the Chinese the most likely to be found taking advantage of free access.

Click here to read the press release for more topline findings.

NB Image by Shutterstock


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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports. For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology. Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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  1. krishna kumar

    Well written Martin,
    you really picked a right topic and mentioned so appropriate data.
    Impressed 🙂


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