- Mobile travel sales in the U.S. will grow about 17% this year from 2016 to about $76 billion, comprising 40% of all digital travel sales, according to an eMarketer study released today. Total digital travel sales in the U.S. will reach $189.6 billion, including airline, car rental, cruise, hotel and transportation.
- Desktop and laptop travel sales will fall 1.6% this year to $114 billion as their share of all online travel sales shrinks to 60%, the researcher estimated. By 2021, mobile will catch up and represent nearly half of all online travel sales.
- By 2019, digital travel sales will surpass $200 billion for the first time, and by 2020, mobile travel sales alone will surpass $100 billion, according to the company’s estimates.
The projections from eMarketer show that consumer habits are shifting as the smartphone market reaches almost total saturation and mobile apps become more sophisticated in their abilities to provide search and booking services, especially on the fly. “Last-minute travel deals are helping to drive mobile sales, as consumers opt to book right away via their smartphones,” Chris Bendtsen, eMarketer forecasting analyst, said in a statement. “Consumers are booking more travel on mobile due to larger smartphone screens, easier mobile payment methods and overall habits shifting to mobile. Also, airlines, hotels and online travel agencies have made both apps and mobile websites easier to use.”
Mobile's influence on the travel industry is widely apparent. Airbnb, already a major force in bookings, recently added a tool for business travelers. Additionally, Facebook recently added flights to dynamic ads that were introduced last year to remind consumers to complete a hotel booking.
Meanwhile, 43% of Americans say they won’t be taking a vacation this summer with the top reason being the high cost, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Forty-nine percent of people not taking a vacation cited the cost, 11% said they can't take the time off from work and 3% said they don't like to be away from work for too long.
Forty-one percent of people with full- or part-time jobs said they don’t get any paid time off from employers to use for vacation. Younger and lower-income workers are especially likely to not get any paid time off, the study found. Another 14% of workers who get paid vacation time didn’t use any of the days they were granted by employers. Nearly two-thirds say they'd prefer to take a longer but less luxurious vacation over one that's shorter but more luxurious, according to the study.
Hotel and other travel-related companies should keep in mind this growing trend toward mobile as they look ahead or plan to improve the ease and accessibility of their mobile booking site or app. Though mobile still lags slightly behind other digital tools used to book vacations, many people browse and research trip on a smartphone while on the go. This year, 101.4 million U.S. adults will research a trip on their smartphones, up 13.1% over last year, per the eMarketer study.