Many research organisations foresee the growth of mobile search in 2013 and emphasise the need for the industry to understand what this means for digital strategy. 2013 has even been claimed to be 'the year of mobile search', meaning that it is no longer a topic that tourism organisations can ignore (Fresh Egg). It is therefore interesting to take a closer look into the statistics behind smartphone searches, and to understand the difference in consumer behaviour patterns when using their mobiles.
Mobile Search Numbers
The volume of mobile searches has grown tremendously, rising by 400% over the last year, and doubling every two months. Consumers worldwide are thus increasingly looking up information in this manner, with Australia and the UK the most search savvy countries; 73% of their smartphone users conducting mobile searches. The USA and China are not far behind them however, with similarly high rates of 71% and 68% respectively.
What Do They Search?
For businesses worldwide, it is interesting to look beyond the numbers into what it is consumers are actually searching for with their mobiles. Findings show that product information is the top area of interest, making mobile a very relevant area across all kinds of industries. Looking more in depth, into the different sectors, and queries related to restaurants, pubs and bars are identified as regularly made via smartphones, closely followed by those related to travel and holidays. For tourism organisations and destinations, this information is very interesting, and demonstrates what information and content should be accessible from mobile phones.
The study also revealed that mobile searches tend to be very geographically focused, with four in five users looking up local information with their smartphones. Taking the information found in these mobile searches, consumers will take actions, thus identifying a close link between mobile search and actual conversions; after conducting a mobile search, one in three people surveyed went to make a purchase. These figures will increase as mobile continues to grow.
Mobile Search and Tourism
Tourism organisations and destinations need to start considering how this immense growth in mobile search can be used to their advantage, and consider mobile as an integral part of their overall digital strategy. Mobile is now, and destinations need to plan and react to the changes within the field, in consumer search, as they happen, in order to stay ahead of their competitors.
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