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Sales of travel products and services on digital devices are continuing to grow at high rates in the UK, a fairly mature market for digital travel sales. In line with these findings, eMarketer recently published a series of estimates for digital travel sales over the coming years.


According to eMarketer’s estimates, leisure and unmanaged business travellers in the UK will spend £18.44 billion ($29.27 billion) this year on bookings made via desktop and mobile devices. These numbers show an increase of 11.8% over 2012, however, the growth rates are expected to slow throughout the forecast period. In 2017 for example, a 5.3% increase in digital travel sales is expected with total spent reaching £24.68 billion ($39.17 billion).

This year, estimates suggest travel sales will account for 29.5% of the overall UK B2C eCommerce market, encompassing both travel and retail sales. Travel will lose a few points of this share to retail in the coming years, with a projected 27.5% of the B2C ecommerce market in 2017.

Researchers and Bookers

Digital travel sales are driven by a large market of researchers and bookers who look for travel products and services on the web. eMarketer estimates 25.8 million people in the UK, over 65% of the Internet population will research travel online at some point during 2013, regardless of whether they finally book a trip. Booking will be less common, although over half of all UK Internet users will do so this year.

According to eMarketer, the population of travel researchers and bookers is approaching saturation, with growth continuing throughout the forecast period but penetration levels reaching a plateau at around 65% of Internet users for travel research and 60% for travel booking; trends which are very interesting to note for the tourism industry.


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