Travel websites, one of the drivers of e-commerce, continue to grow

Specialist American company comScore has analysed the European tourism industry from a digital perspective. And its study, The EU Travel Report, highlights some interesting comparisons between the countries.

UK leads the way

The UK is at the cutting edge with 94% of its digital population visiting travel websites (67% in France, 69% in Italy and 86% in Spain). Only 12 apps have reached mass market appeal in Europe, registering a million or more unique visitors, as compared with 51 websites. Meanwhile, in January 2018 travel spending on desktop computers averaged 350 to 460 euros-per-buyer. The report summarises behavioural trends among consumers that visit travel websites. Five countries were examined: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The categories of sampled websites and operators include airlines, car hire companies, cruise companies, hotels, information websites, travel agents and tech companies. Some website categories are more effective in attracting heavy travel site users. For example, weather information sites in the UK and Germany are 2.7 and 2.4 times more likely to attract heavy users.

Other countries

In general, considering all five nations examined by comScore’s research, total consumer spending increased everywhere in January 2018 compared with the same month last year. In Italy the increase was almost imperceptible with average travel website spending per person rising by just 1 euro (from 351 to 352 euro), while in the other EU5 markets it rose by 7% in the UK (from 382 to 408 euro), 15% in Spain (351 to 402 euro), 24% in Germany (370 to 459 euro) and as much as 62% in France, the highest growth rate of all, going from 279 euro in 2017 to 451 euro in 2018.

The analysis of the average length and frequency of visits to travel websites showed a dual trend: nations in which digital consumers visit these kinds of web pages more often are also those in which the visits are shorter; conversely, users from countries that visit these sites less frequently are more likely to remain on them for longer. Germany and France, both with 7 visits a month on average, recorded visit lengths of 8 and 7 minutes respectively (for monthly totals of 57 and 47 minutes per person); at the other end of the spectrum, the UK, with 13 visits per person on average per month, has a visit length of 5 minutes (67 minutes per month). Spain and Italy come in between: in Italy people visit these sites 6 times a month on average, staying for 6 minutes for a total of 37 minutes per person a month; in Spain the average number of visits rises to 8 a month with an average length of 5 minutes and a total of 40 minutes a month.

Struggling apps

Apps are struggling to conquer the mass market. If we look at the number of unique visitors to sites it is evident that not all have reached mass market appeal, especially when it comes to mobile apps. 51% of websites achieve their goal by exceeding over 1 million unique visitors a month (data January 2018) but only 12 apps are able to say the same. These figures are also a surprise considering the ease with which apps can be accessed on smartphones and tablets. However, when it comes to making purchases, the most popular medium remains the desktop with mobile devices for the most part used to carry out research.