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Consumers in Germany Go Mobile to Consider Travel Purchases

But many would rather make their bookings offline

December 14, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Mobile sites and apps are playing a key role when consumers in Germany explore travel options—especially among those already converted to researching travel via handheld devices. Over half (56.4%) of all mobile travel site and app visitors in Germany ages 13 and older visited such sites and apps at least one to three times per month in June 2016, according to data from comScore. Nearly one-third visited a site or app once per week, and close to 15% did so every day.

Mobile Travel Site/App Visitor Share in Germany, by Frequency, June 2016 (% of total)

Moreover, some of the country's mobile device-toting travel researchers aren't averse to pulling the trigger on what they find. Various travel-related purchases featured among the top product categories bought via the mobile internet by smartphone users in Germany surveyed by G+J e|MS in May 2016.

More than half (54%) of smartphone users in Germany ages 14 and older queried who had made an mcommerce purchase had bought airline or train tickets that way, G+J e|MS found—only books and paid apps had been purchased by more respondents via mobile. Moreover, about 40% had made hotel reservations using the mobile internet.

Product Categories Purchased via Mobile Internet Among Smartphone Users in Germany, May 2016 (% of respondents)

Other researchers, however, have found that when it comes to turning research into a paid-for plan, the picture in Germany is less rosy. Just 15% of travel purchases in Germany were done via mobile in Q1 2016, according to a Criteo study of activity among online travel agents and travel suppliers that advertised on its network. Of the nine countries examined, Germany ranked last by that measure, ahead of only France (22%), and well below the 36% share seen in Japan, the highest-ranked country.

An April 2016 study by Gesellschaft für integrierte Kommunikationsforschung (GIK) sheds some light on consumer reticence in Germany to complete travel transactions via mobile device. It found that 31% of consumers ages 14 and older surveyed in Germany had researched trips and vacation packages digitally, buy just 11% had paid for such packages online at all. Likewise, nearly 29% had researched components of travel, like flights or hotels, digitally, but just 15% had purchased them that way. The issue, then, isn't particular to mobile. It would seem that travelers in Germany prefer to buy offline in general.

—Ben Clague

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