According to latest figures published by eMarketer, in the Middle East and Africa nearly all consumers using the web are mobile. This actually means that more than 9 in 10 people actually go online via their phones. Although the fact that consumers are moving towards mobile is nothing new, it is still extraordinary to have figures black in white that proof that in all regions worldwide this is the case. Especially in so called emerging markets, most consumers do access the internet through mobile first, meaning that mobile is a first screen for internet access for many in the region. This is also the case in Asia Pacific whereas in Europe, most consumers actually access the internet through a desktop or laptop first and then move onto mobile internet access (eMarketer 2014).
MOBILE INTERNET USERS
There are 94% of consumers in the Middle East and Africa already accessing the internet through mobile devices at least once each month. This means that the mobile penetration rate increased from 2013’s rate which was at 92.7%. Looking at a worldwide penetration rate, it becomes evident that 79% of internet users worldwide will be mobile in 2014. In general, most regions in the world will boast penetration rates up to 90% and higher.
For instance, this is the case for the Middle East and Africa with 94% in 2014 and estimated 96% in 2017, Asia Pacific with 93% in 2017 Western Europe with 90.6% in 2017 and Central and Eastern Europe also managing to increase its mobile penetration rate to 91.7% in 2017. Overall, this outlook is very positive for the tourism industry and demonstrates that tourism businesses and destinations emphasising the importance of mobile in their strategies are going for the trend that will shape digital and the travel and tourism industry the most.
Interestingly, mobile phone internet user penetration is still dominated by North America with 64.4% in 2014 and the Middle East and Africa is still way behind North America with 54.4%. However, it is still great news for tourism marketers to know that more than half of all internet users are accessing content online through their mobile phones. This will certainly impact on the way in which tourism businesses are using digital to market services and products to consumers in the Gulf region and Africa via mobile. Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are taking advantage of mobile phones and will embrace mobile further in the upcoming years.
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