Hopper has emerged from the pandemic as the top travel booking app in the United States, surpassing Booking.com, which claimed the leading spot in 2020.
According to mobile app marketing intelligence provider SensorTower’s The State of Travel Apps 2021 report, which analyzed travel apps in the Travel category in the App Store and the Travel & Local category on Google Play, Hopper downloads peaked in July 2021 at 1.3 million.
Overall, the top travel booking apps exceeded 10.6 million downloads in Q2 2021 – an 81% jump compared to the same period in 2019.
Of the top 10 travel booking apps downloaded in the first half of 2021, five fall under the Expedia Group umbrella, with Expedia ranking number three, Hotels.com, Orbitz and Travelocity ranking numbers five, six and seven, respectively, and Hotwire landing at number nine on the list.
Downloads of Expedia peaked in June 2021 at nearly one million, up 70% year-over-year.
Booking Holdings brands, meanwhile, claimed the number two (Booking.com), number four (Priceline) and number 10 (Kayak) spots.
Hopper’s ascension to the top – from 2018 to 2020, it was the third-most-downloaded travel booking app – is due to several factors, the report finds. In addition to offering consumers features such as its “price freeze” function, Hopper found success advertising on TikTok at the start of 2020 and on Snapchat in 2021. The app also saw its share of voice spike on TikTok in the first half of 2021.
Hopper and Booking.com saw the highest market share for the first half of 2021, each accounting for 27% of travel booking app downloads.
Hopper’s market share for the first half of the year grew 8 percentage points compared to 2020, while Booking.com’s share dropped by 3 points during the same period.
Examining the entire travel category – which includes travel booking, airline, navigation, ride-hailing and e-bike-sharing apps – the State of Travel Apps report reveals that travel app downloads in the U.S. surpassed 85 million in Q2 2021, accounting for the highest quarterly adoption since the COVID-19 outbreak and an increase of 128% year-over-year.
For the third year running, Google Maps, Uber and Lyft comprise the top three most-downloaded travel apps. For the first half of 2021, Vrbo and Airbnb round out the top five, with Hopper close behind at number six.
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Travel booking apps accounted for 19% of travel app downloads in the first half of 2021, and the subcategory grew its market share by 4 percentage points compared to 2020.
Airline apps, which saw a drop in market share in 2020, began to recover during the first half of this year and ranked number three by share size. For the first half of 2021, airline apps accounted for 13% market share, growing from 12% in 2020.
Airline app downloads peaked at eight million in Q2 2021 and surpassed the category’s record high of 7.3 million in Q2 2019 by 10%.
American Airlines was the most-downloaded airline app in the first half of 2021, notching more than 800,000 downloads for the first time in June, up 236% year-over-year, and more than 840,000 downloads in July, its highest total for a month in the past five years.
Fly Delta was the second-most-downloaded airline app, reaching its peak at 770,000 downloads in July 2021.
According to the report, the top six airline apps collectively saw 17% growth in Q2 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.
Downloads of local travel apps, which include ride-hailing, navigation, e-bike-sharing and car rental apps, climbed 53% year-over-year in July 2021, with ride-hailing and e-bike apps reaching pre-pandemic download numbers.
Ride-hailing apps gained 3.6 million downloads in July 2021, accounting for a 197% growth compared to March 2020.
Uber was the most-downloaded ride-hailing app in the first half of 2021 and recently reached 1.95 million downloads during August of this year.
That same month, Lyft saw 1.3 million first-time downloads. Although the app has not fully reached pre-COVID download levels, Lyft’s adoption grew to 90% of the total from February 2020 by August 2021.
E-bike-sharing apps gained popularity amid the pandemic, with Bird achieving 121% year-over-year growth and seeing its downloads peak at 630,000 in July 2021.
Lime, the second-most-downloaded e-bike-sharing app, gained nearly 570,000 downloads that same month.
Compared to other local travel apps, e-bike-sharing apps have high growth potential: According to the report, top e-bike-sharing app install growth since January 2019 surpassed 183%, 126 percentage points higher than what was seen by ride-hailing apps (excluding Uber and Lyft) in the same period.