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In 2013, a lot of research has been conducted with regards to mobile penetration, mobile adoption and also mobile usage, showing the tremendous impact that mobile has on our daily lives. Although it is clear that the opportunities are very big for mobile, it is still unclear who the mobile audience is and to what extent these selective mobile only users are impacting on the tourism industry. When looking at the US market in particular, it is clear that a large amount of consumers are using their desktop, laptop and mobile devices on a very regular basis. However, latest research conducted by eMarketer now showed that a large proportion of US consumers are actually avoiding the desktop, making it necessary to think mobile in a smart way, as consumers are increasingly becoming selective with regards to their device usage (eMarketer 2013).

CONSUMERS BY PLATFORM

When looking in more detail at the platforms that are used by US consumers between February and July 2013, it is clear that currently, the number of mobile only users are still quite rare in the US, even though, the US can be considered an advanced mobile market. This is very interesting, illustrating the fact that most consumers using mobile only might not do this by choice, but due to economic reasons, as devices are still not completely affordable for the wider public.

Between February and July 2013, the percentage of consumers that use personal computers only dropped from 46% to 40%. The use of both personal computers and mobile devices showed an increase of 6% from February to July to 54%. This is a very steady growth and also demonstrates that the mobile device only audience is remaining at a steady 6% whereas US consumers moving from personal computers only to personal computers and mobile devices is steadily increasing and will probably increase even further over the time period between August to December 2013.

MOBILE ONLY USERS

What are mobile only users doing with their mobile devices? This is a question that is quite interesting to look at, as it puts the mobile exclusive usage into focus. Certain activities and channels are used by consumers through their mobile devices only, making it very difficult for marketers to target them unless specifically through mobile.

Many consumers in the US are using their mobile to do any shopping and around 31% of these consumers are actually using mobile exclusively for shopping purposes. As many consumers are connected to the internet through mobile only, it is an essential tool to do online shopping due to the only connection.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY?

Destinations and tourism organisations really need to ensure that their websites are mobile ready. If the experience on websites is not right, it can be quite off-putting for consumers that are accessing online content through mobile devices only. Although currently the percentage of mobile only consumers is fairly low, the percentage of consumers using desktop computers and and mobile devices is growing and the shift towards mobile also with regards to booking is already happening and tourism destinations and businesses need to react to that.

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