Travel Shoppers Comfortable Spending Big On Mobile

It’s safe to say Americans are attached to their smartphones. We take them to the movie theater, to church and as new research shows, even into the bathroom and the bedroom.

But, while Americans are increasingly apt to travel anywhere and everywhere with their smartphones, are they using these devices to research and complete actual travel purchases?

A new survey from eMarketer, using data from JiWire, aimed to find out.

The study surveyed more than 1,200 U.S. Internet users about their travel booking habits in March of this year. Using these responses, researchers predicted that 40 percent of all digital travel researchers will use tablets or smartphones to plan their trips through 2013. Further, they expect more than 25 percent to finalize a purchase on these devices by the year’s end. 

EMarketer also examined how more avid mobile Wi-Fi users researched and made travel-related purchases. This included analyzing spending on such items as flights, hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

In this Data Point, we’ll take a closer look at the data on these two demographics to determine how U.S. shoppers buy travel products and book vacations in an increasingly digitized world.

Laptops Are The Most Used Purchasing Device By Internet Users

EMarketer found that when it comes to travel purchasing, laptops are top dog. Sixty-three percent of all survey respondents said they had made a travel booking on this device. Tablets and smartphones finished second and third in the rankings, respectively. Thirty-nine percent of tablet users and 27 percent of smartphone users purchased with these device.

However, research suggested tablets and smartphones are playing a key role in the buying process. Nearly 50 percent of respondents reported that they used tablets and smartphones to research a trip. This suggests advertisers may do well to ensure these platforms are optimized, even if they don’t contribute heavily to total sales.

Mobile Shoppers Prefer Laptops For Purchasing

eMarketer took a look into the types of devices that mobile Wi-Fi users used to book travel purchases, and found that laptops were the most popular device. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they have used a laptop to book travel, while 34 percent said a laptop is the only device they use.

The data suggested that though tablets and smartphones were used by 29 percent and 23 percent of respondents, respectively, tablet shoppers may be more dedicated than smartphone users. Thirteen percent of tablet buyers said they have only used tablets, while only 6 percent of smartphone users said this was the sole device they’ve used for travel bookings.

Nearly Half Of Travelers Willing To Spend More Than $500

The study also looked at how much mobile Wi-Fi users are willing to spend on mobile travel purchases. What researchers found is that 44 percent of respondents said they were willing to spend more than $500 on these transactions. Ten percent of survey-takers said they would make a purchase with a value of more than $1,500.

Not all shoppers were big spenders. The majority – 56 percent – said they would only spend less than $500. Thirteen percent said they would not make a travel purchase from a smartphone or tablet. 

Despite this finding, recent developments suggest travel purchases via mobile devices may soon become more commonplace. In recent months, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has considered loosening its restrictions on mobile device use in-flight: a move that could encourage more travel-related spending.

To read more about travel spend, read the full eMarketer report here.


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