eMarketer projects 2015 will be a major turning point for how travelers research their trips, predicting nearly half of digital travel researchers will check out flights, hotels and more not only on a desktop or laptop but also, or only, via mobile.
This year, 106.3 million people will actually book travel online, and a third of them will book via mobile.
The 2015 projection is impactful, considering 128.8 million people in the U.S, who represent 63% of the Internet’s population, will research travel online by year’s end. Of that percentage, 47.4% will research travel via mobile.
The largest increase in mobile travel research will take place from 2015 to 2016, eMarketer predicts, with the percentage of digital travel researchers using mobile rising from 54.6% to 62.2%. The number of digital travel researchers using mobile will increase to 85.6 million people by 2016 from the 72.8 million predicted to use mobile next year. By 2018, more than 103 million people will use mobile to research travel.
As mobile travel research makes its ascent to reach desktop’s level, nine out of ten people will use a smartphone for travel research, compared to about eight in ten who will use a tablet.
eMarketer also projects mobile travel sales will increase nearly 60% this year to reach $26.14 billion, and by 2017, mobile sales will reach nearly half the volume of desktop sales. For now, travel booking sales on desktops and laptops still outpace bookings on tablets and smartphones
“The trend is clear, however, that more and more travelers are using mobile to research and book, hence the reason mobile travel sales are skyrocketing while desktop sales are beginning to decline slightly,” said Dan Marcec, a spokesperson for eMarketer.
Mobile bookings were up 20% this year compared to desktop bookings being up only 2%, another report found.