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Online Travel Trends in Germany Vary by Age

Travel is a top ecommerce activity for internet users over 50

While a comScore Media Metrix report found that just over half of internet users in Germany visited travel sites in May, travel website reach is lower in Germany than all other EU-5 countries except Italy. As a point of comparison, nearly 70% of UK internet users visited travel sites in May, spending nearly twice as much time on travel websites as consumers in Germany.

That said, travel remains one of the most popular ecommerce categories among consumers in the country. According to Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung’s (AGOF) “Internet Facts 2012-06,” nearly 56% of internet users in Germany sought information about holiday or last-minute travel online in the 12 months preceding June 2012, while more than 51% of the 100,000+ respondents to the survey researched hotels for either leisure or business during that time. These two online travel categories were the second and fourth most common ecommerce research activities among internet users surveyed by AGOF.

When it came to online purchasing, holiday and last-minute travel slipped to sixth place on the list—26.9% of internet users in Germany made a holiday or last-minute travel purchase during the study period. While hotel purchases for business and leisure were only slightly higher at 27.7%, this product category held steady as the fourth most popular ecommerce buying activity.

Researching for holiday and last-minute travel far outpaces purchasing, suggesting that consumers are often on the lookout for a deal, but are more likely to be looking than booking this type of travel purchase. However, the difference in the percentage of internet users researching vs. booking hotels, in particular, significantly collapsed, especially in older demographic sets.

For example, AGOF reported that more than half of consumers ages 60 and older sought information online about hotels for leisure or business, and 28.8% purchased them. That represented the most popular research category, and also the second most popular purchase category. Seeking information about hotels was the third most popular activity for internet users ages 50 to 59, and it was actually the second most popular purchase category—30.7% of internet users in this age group made hotel bookings online.

The survey only reported the top five product purchase categories for each age group, and travel didn’t register on the list for any age demographics under 40. While it’s possible that a similar or slightly higher percentage of these younger consumers in Germany are booking hotel rooms online, it’s clear that as they get older, internet users are seeing travel as one of the most desirable online purchase items. Travel marketers can feel confident targeting these consumers for planned vacations because it’s one of the main reasons they are going online to shop.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Email Timing Crucial for Success” and “Holiday Buyers Make It Mobile.”

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