Travel bookers choose mobile devices for easier booking journey

A new report from eMarketer shows that more than half of people who book trips digitally will do so via a mobile device.

The market research firm has upwardly adjusted its second quarter forecast for mobile bookings to reflect the fact that travellers are growing increasingly comfortable booking trips on small-screen devices.

According to the study, 51.8% of travellers will use a mobile device to book trips in 2016 – a rise from 43.8% this year.

And of the 48.5 million respondents booking trips book via mobile this year, more than three-quarters (78.6%), or 38.1 million, will do so with a smartphone.

Fewer will book their trip using a tablet, 31.3 million, in 2015 – or 64.4% of all mobile travel bookers, says eMarketer.

With travel firms increasingly offering mobile-ready websites, travellers are taking the opportunity to use their mobile devices for more convenient booking, explains Oscar Orozco, forecasting analyst at the firm.

"Hotels, airlines, and online travel sites are better optimising their websites for mobile bookings. As a result, people are finding a simpler and easier path to purchase and booking their trips right on their devices. This bodes well for the industry as a whole," he said.

Meanwhile, sales of travel products and services through desktop- and laptop-based devices continue to decline.

In 2015, travel sales booked via PCs will stand at $115.91 billion (£76.9 billion), a 1.8% decline from 2014. This trend will continue through at least 2019, the end of eMarketer's forecast period.

Mobile's share is smaller, at $52.08 billion (£34.6 billion) this year, but nonetheless the segment will continue to challenge desktop's share. While mobile will account for 31.0% of digital travel sales this year, this will climb to 46.0% by 2019.

There's also an increase in travellers researching their trips via mobile too. The number of respondents who researched their travel options via a mobile device was 62.6% in 2015 – soaring by 25.9% over last year.

By 2016, the proportion of those using a mobile device to research a trip is expected to rise again, reaching 73.0%.

Once again, the smartphone is the device of choice when it comes to researching travel. This year, the vast majority (91%) of travellers using a mobile device to research a trip will use a smartphone to do so, compared with 69.3% who will use a tablet.