Mobile Commerce in Travel: A Global Perspective

by Varsha Arora + Skift Team - Oct 2021

Skift Research Take

Mobile is already the primary device for travel planning in the majority of the world. But for most of the travel sectors and companies, mobile bookings are yet to surpass desktop bookings in volume or value. Undoubtedly, the travel companies need to increase their mobile investment to capitalize on this shift, but, at the same time they need to have an overarching multi-device strategy in place to engage with the customer throughout.

Report Overview

In the past few years, mobile commerce sales have amplified tremendously across all consumer product categories. Over 2017–2021, global retail m-commerce sales grew from $1.4 trillion to $3.6 trillion, a CAGR of 27%. Based on our analysis of available third-party data and our own estimates of the accommodation and airline sectors, we believe mobile travel sales account for about 30-40% of online travel sales and 15-25% of total travel sales globally. 

Skift Research attempted to estimate the revenue share of hotel bookings made via mobile devices in top countries of APAC, Europe and North America along with the revenue share of online flight bookings made using mobile devices at a regional level. We also interviewed senior industry professionals to understand the status quo and expanse of m-commerce penetration in the hotel and airline industry to cover the two most important aspects of a traveller’s journey: transport and accommodation, and validate our estimates. 

We found that mobile’s share of online bookings varies across regions. The disparity, to a degree, is linked to the demographic differences between the regions and is dependent primarily on the way consumers perform internet search and interact with their devices. 

However, since booking travel is not a linear process and involves various touchpoints, travel companies should not only focus on bridging the gap between use of mobile devices and desktop, but have a multi-device strategy in place to engage with the customer at every point of his/her journey. Essentially, they should move from a mobile-first to an omni-channel approach to boost overall revenue. 

 

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Mobile commerce sales and growth at a global level
  • Share of hotel bookings by channel and device, breaking down by top countries and region
  • Revenue share of mobile in online flight bookings by region
  • Regional mobile usage behaviors and patterns that impact mobile bookings
  • Other key factors that impact how and when mobile is used for booking
  • Change in device usage patterns in light of COVID-19
  • Challenges and opportunities of growing mobile channels

Executives Interviewed

  • Alix Boulnois, Chief Digital Factory Officer, Accor
  • Gary Yu, Senior Director of Product, Hilton
  • Hugh Aitken, Vice President of Flights at Skyscanner
  • Jolie Fleming, Senior Vice President, Guest Products and Platforms, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Matthieu Dutter, Vice President Products, D-EDGE Hospitality Solutions
  • Ronnie Jahraus, Chief Operating Officer, Myhotelshop
  • Werner Kunz-Cho, Chief Executive Officer, Fareportal