Many travelers prefer mobile browsing because they don't feel constrained by app experiences that are sometimes limiting. But as Criteo's data show, mobile apps are still a powerful way to win customers and conversions if they're constructed in ways that build trust and promote simplicity.
Nearly 40 percent of all global travelers shop for travel on mobile devices and complete transactions on mobile about a third of the time, with mobile transactions up three percent year-over-year as of the fourth quarter 2015.
That’s according to Criteo, a performance marketing company, which analyzed more than 1.7 billion global travel and retail transactions from 3,300 business amounting to $720 billion in sales. Smartphones’ global share of mobile transactions grew by more than 15% year-over-year and now account for 60% of all mobile transactions in the U.S., Criteo’s analysis found.
The real sign of the times: in fourth quarter 2015 some 52 percent of travelers’ online browsing for mobile transactions took place exclusively on mobile browsers. About 16 percent of desktop searches resulted in a mobile transaction. And while mobile browsing is on the rise (see charts below) mobile apps haven’t lost their momentum. About 54% of mobile travel transactions came through an app in fourth quarter 2015 though mobile browsing wasn’t far behind (46%).
As Chart 5 shows mobile apps ultimately lead to higher conversion rates and more products viewed for travel brands. Though both mobile browsing and apps should be considered serious contenders against desktop, particularly smartphones given nearly as many travelers used a smartphone as they used a desktop on their paths to purchase (see Chart 3).
Chart 1: For mobile cross-device transactions, more than half of browsing occurred on mobile browsers and devices only and another third occurred across both mobile and desktop.
Chart 2: Nearly 40 percent of cross-device desktop purchases occurred after travelers browsed a retailer’s site on at least one mobile device.
Chart 3: Some 37 percent of desktop transactions occurred after travelers visited the same retailer’s site on at least one other mobile device or browser before purchasing. Smartphone transactions are no longer trailing desktop–they’re neck-in-neck.
Chart 4: Japan and South Korea saw little change in the share of mobile transactions year-over-year. But other countries like Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and even the U.S. saw significant gains in mobile transactions.
Chart 5: App users browse almost four times as many products than mobile web browsers. From that larger base travelers are almost twice as likely to add items to their basket in an app than in a mobile browser.
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Photo credit: Smartphone’s global share of mobile transactions grew by more than 15% year-over-year. Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr