Total spending on online travel is expected to reach nearly $120 billion this year in the US, representing a healthy 11% growth for the industry. But compared to overall online retail sales, online growth for travel is slow, indicating maturity in the market.
The US mobile travel market is growing more quickly. eMarketer estimates 16 million Americans will book travel via mobile this year, up from just over 12 million in 2011. By 2016, the number of mobile users booking travel on their devices is expected to more than double to 36.7 million. And significantly more mobile users will research, but not necessarily purchase, travel on their phones throughout the forecast period: 37.8 million this year, rising to 74.3 million by 2016.
Over the same period, total online sales of leisure and unmanaged business travel will rise from $119.2 million to $151.9 million.
eMarketer expects nearly 120 million US adult internet users to research travel online this year, and 98.3 million to book travel via the web—a solid majority of internet users. By 2012, these numbers will rise to 134.7 million and 111.5 million, respectively.
eMarketer forms its estimates of online and mobile travel research, booking and sales based on the analysis of data from benchmark source PhoCusWright, estimates from other research firms, historical trends, reported and estimated revenues from major online retailers, consumer online buying trends, macro-level economic conditions and internet and mobile adoption trends.