France's Travelers Slow to Embrace Mobile Booking - eMarketer

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France's Travelers Slow to Embrace Mobile Booking

Mobile travel bookings are growing, but remain a rarity in the country

March 19, 2015

The percentage of consumers booking travel on smartphones grew by 20% in France in a single year, according to a new CCM Benchmark report, but doesn’t yet rival the number making such reservations on a PC.

Devices/Channels Used to Book Select Travel Services According to Internet Users in France, Dec 2014 (% of respondents)

Of the 1,200 internet users in France ages 18 and older polled by CCM, 80% had booked travel on their computers before departing. But mobile advance bookings were rare. Overall, just 5% of respondents had booked travel to their destination via smartphone, and 5% via tablet. By contrast, 15% said they booked at a travel agency or other location.

With respect to hotels and other accommodations, 78% said they had made reservations via PC prior to departure, compared with 7% who had booked via smartphone and 6% who used a tablet. Here, too, the percentage who had used a travel agency or other source (15%) surpassed the share using mobile devices.

At first glance, these figures seem to be at odds with data from the Fédération du e-commerce et de la vente à distance (FEVAD) and Institut CSA. Their January 2015 report indicated that nearly half (45%) of digital buyers in France ages 18 to 74 had purchased train tickets or reservations for vacations or hotel accommodations in 2014.

Product/Service Categories that Digital Buyers in France Have Purchased* vs. Intend** to Purchase via Smartphone, Dec 2014 (% of respondents)

In fact, travel-related purchases were more common than any other category of smartphone buys last year—including clothes, books, music and films. It should be noted, though, that digital buyers are by definition consumers who already make purchases on digital platforms, and will likely be more at ease with mobile buying than the wider adult population. Also, the figures from FEVAD and CSA appear to include train tickets bought with a smartphone at or near the time of departure, as well as those bought in advance.

CCM did report that mobile devices took on greater importance when travelers prebooked activities such as cultural events or entertainment at their destinations. Some 22% of those polled had used their smartphone to do this, and 14% had used a tablet, while 17% had made such arrangements through an agency. The percentage booking activities via PC remained highest, though, at 71%.

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