Tablet adoption is skyrocketing among U.S. leisure travelers, triggering changes in online and travel shopping behavior. According to a new report from travel industry research firm PhoCusWright, 44 percent of travelers now own a tablet, and an additional four in 10 plan to purchase one by the end of 2014.
With smartphone penetration at 75 percent, the tablet's rapid rise means a growing share of travelers is splitting online travel planning across multiple web-enabled devices. In 2013, one third of U.S. online travelers owned a smartphone, laptop and tablet, up from less than a quarter in 2012.
"Tablets are having an impact on travel planning habits that goes far beyond simply adding one more device to the mix," said Marcello Gasdia, PhoCusWright's consumer research analyst. "Once a traveler purchases a tablet, we're seeing their mobile web usage nearly double, with the mobile web accounting for fifty percent of time spent online. As the tablet-toting contingent of U.S. travelers continues to grow, the assumption that online travel planning usually means interacting via the desktop web may no longer hold true."
While desktop/laptop computers still get the highest marks for ease-of-use in terms of travel planning, seven in ten tablet owners rate planning a vacation online via tablet as somewhat or very easy, according to PhoCusWright's Traveler Technology Survey 2013. Although most tablet owners also have a smartphone close at hand, they are more likely to rely on their tablet for destination selection, shopping and booking - making tablets a crucial element of mobile travel strategy in 2014.
About the research
PhoCusWright's Traveler Technology Survey 2013 provides travel companies and marketers with a comprehensive view of how the latest devices, mobile functionality and social networks are shaping the consumer leisure travel planning process. The research provides rich insight into multi-device travel planning and provides an in-depth look at how travelers use social platforms and mobile devices before, during and after their trips.
Research highlights include:
Analysis of online travelers' ownership and adoption of mobile phones, smartphones and web-enabled devices, including PCs, tablets and more.
Detailed examination of travelers' mobile Internet usage, highlighting travel-related mobile activities such as pre-trip research and shopping, mobile bookings and a range of in-travel mobile activities (navigation/mapping, flight check-in and social network trip updates).
Discussion of social network participation among online travelers, including what networks they use, how often they connect and travel-related activity.