Most holiday related research takes place in mobile websites (94%) versus native applications, claims a new study.
Market research company GFK looked at the mobile internet usage of more than 300,000 mobile network users (with opt-in consent) in the UK.
The month long study (October 2013) threw up interesting findings about the profile of users accessing travel-related apps, mobile website vs native app popularity, the best time to reach out to travellers with more tailored content.
Mobile web, native app usage pattern
With the convenience of using mobile on-the-go, about 25% of all mobile users research via their phones, plan, compare and book their holiday.
Travel is in the top five categories that people access on their mobiles and the reach of mobile has now outstripped fixed (landline broadband) internet use.
For the reported period, users accessed 1,907 holiday-related websites via mobile, but only 30 different holiday-related apps were accessed.
Top sites accessed are:
The top three sites above only account for 21% of sessions and a similar percentage of time spent, there is a long list of sites with 90% of users' time spent across the top 450 sites.
On average, there are about 3.2 sessions (per user per month) accessing holiday related sites, and the average session duration is about 20 minutes.
When it comes to native apps, top iOS apps accessed are: (activity heavily concentrated in the top four/five apps)
- British Airways
- App list largely focused on major travel brands and definitive tasks such as checking for train status, tracking flight status etc.
The study also reveals an interesting usage pattern: young female users aged between 18 and 34, earning £10,000 to -£40,000 and are on their lunch break at work between Tuesday and Thursday, tend to be the prime users of mobile to research their next holiday.
Insights like this can be used to trigger personalized messaging to the primary audience. Weekend browsers, male audiences, older holiday researchers and those with families may require a different set of messaging tactics.
Marketers have to formulate a strategy to gain traction in such a vastly populated channel and optimise messaging and penetration.
Varying degrees of native app usage
The study claims that holiday research is largely site rather than app-based, with only 6% of iOS users relying on app-only, 83% users accessing mobile site-only, and 11% of users accessing both. Apps tend to be focused on major brands and definitive tasks.
Among the group of users who accessed TripAdvisor via iOS platform, 85% accessed the mobile website, and only 10% accessed the native app. This experience mirrors the industry norm with an 85/10% split in the site/app usage pattern.
But, the equation reverses when it comes to the usage of BA's service on mobile with 17% of visits for britishairways.com and 83% of users accessing the native app of the airline.
However, with respect to Skyscanner, 62% of visits are via its native app, and 38% visits are to its website in iOS platform. This highlights a different usage pattern (more app-centric activity) when compared to TripAdvisor and British Airways.
Native apps attract a slightly more even gender mix, across higher incomes (people earning more than £40,000). This insight can be used by marketers to target affluent users with an app-based approach.
The 46% of fixed online users who access travel-related sites may be declining (switching to mobile rapidly) 5% year-on-year, but it still represents a significant proportion.
NB:Mobile app image via Shutterstock.