As more consumers adopt advanced mobile devices, mobile travel bookings are beginning to boom, according to eMarketer. U.S. mobile travel sales, which include travel purchases on both tablets and smartphones, totaled $16.36 billion in 2013 and will increase another 59.8 percent in 2014 to reach $26.14 billion.
eMarketer estimates that U.S. mobile travel sales will account for 18 percent of all digital travel sales, which also include bookings made on desktops and laptops. By 2018, mobile’s share will increase to reach 37 percent of total digital travel sales. All of the growth in digital travel is coming from mobile, and sales via desktops and laptops will decline slightly year over year.
In addition to the continued proliferation of devices, eMarketer says the shift toward mobile sales is driven by companies developing more mobile-friendly services, reports MediaPost.
“The ability to purchase anything anywhere at any time via smartphones creates significant opportunities in the travel space in particular, given that its consumer base is by nature mobile,” the report states.
As a result, last-minute bookings by smartphone are helping to increase mobile sales, albeit for smaller transactions like overnight hotel stays and short-term car rentals.
On the other hand, as tablets replace desktop and laptop computers in the home environment, consumers will be more likely to book larger transactions and longer trips on their tablets as opposed to their PCs. Travel shopping is often a “lean-back” activity, conducive to the tablet user experience while consumers are at home on their couch. eMarketer predicts this trend will drive up the dollar value of mobile travel sales overall.
A separate study by mobile advertising company Millennial Media showed that travel still lags other industry categories in time spent shifting to mobile. The data indicated 68 percent of time spent on travel content takes place on the desktop, with 11% on tablets, and 22 percent on smartphones. By comparison, 53 percent of time spent on retail sites now happens on smartphones and tablets.