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UK Digital Travel Researchers Spend Big Online

Three out of five web users book travel online

July 18, 2013 | Retail & Ecommerce | Travel

Sales of travel products and services on digital devices are continuing to grow at double-digit rates in the UK, which is a fairly mature market for digital travel sales.

eMarketer estimates that leisure and unmanaged business travelers in the UK will spend £18.44 billion ($29.27 billion) this year on bookings made on desktop and mobile devices, up 11.8% over 2012. We expect growth rates to slow throughout the forecast period, with a 5.3% increase in digital travel sales expected for 2017, when the total spent will reach £24.68 billion ($39.17 billion).

UK Digital Travel Sales, 2011-2017 (billions of £ and % change)

This year, eMarketer estimates, travel sales will account for 29.5% of the overall UK business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce market, which includes both travel and retail sales. Travel will lose a few points of share to retail in the coming years, taking a projected 27.5% of the B2C ecommerce market in 2017.

Digital travel sales are propelled by a large market of researchers and bookers looking for travel products and services on the web. eMarketer estimates 25.8 million people in the UK will research travel online at some point during 2013, whether they end up booking a trip or not. That’s nearly two-thirds of the internet population in the country.

UK Digital Travel Researchers and Bookers, 2011-2017

Booking will be somewhat less common, but fully 58% of UK internet users will do so this year. eMarketer believes the population of travel researchers and bookers is close to saturation, with growth continuing throughout the forecast period but penetration levels reaching a plateau around two-thirds of internet users for travel research and six in 10 for travel booking.

eMarketer bases our estimates of digital travel sales, researchers and bookers on the analysis of data from other research firms, historical trends, consumer online buying trends, and macro-level economic conditions.

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