Online spending on travel now accounts for more than a third of total e-commerce, according to a new study.
The report by Expedia Media Solutions and comScore found that the global online travel market was worth US$58 billion in the first half of 2013, or 37% of total online spending. This marks growth of 8% year-on-year, while the amount of time customers are now spending browsing online content has jumped 93% in the last three years.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) are visited by 80% of travellers during the booking process, while 26% of consumers were exposed to travel-related content on Facebook.
And this growth is largely being driven by mobile devices. Twenty-eight percent of total travel searches are spent on smartphones and tablets, and 24% of travellers access travel content exclusively on their mobile devices. The amount of time customers spend on mobile travel websites has increased 45% in the last year, while minutes spent on PCs climbed just 2%.
Noah Tratt, Expedia’s global vice president of media solutions, explained that travellers are now looking at a number of different online sources, before committing to a booking.
“Rather than a linear path to purchase, the research and booking process of today’s traveller looks like an ongoing and multi-directional flight map, with each stop providing an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with travellers,” said Tratt.
The report found that the hotel and accommodation sector was the most commonly researched sector of the market, accounting for 55% of online time. This was followed by information about weather/climate (46%), airfares (45%) and activities (42%). In terms of mobile research however, weather and climate information topped the list, followed by restaurant reviews.
Upon return, 45% of travellers will post travel-related content on social media or write reviews.