23 Sep

Booking via tablets surges

According to research by ABTA there has been a significant increase in the use of tablets and mobiles to book holidays online in the past 12 months.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of online bookers secured a getaway via a tablet compared to just 10% in 2013 and mobiles saw a steady 4% increase in usage over the past year. Tablets are now also marginally more popular than mobiles for online bookings.

The PC remains the most popular device for bookings with 93% of consumers using a PC or laptop when booking a holiday online in the past 12 months. While it remains dominant its usage has slipped from last year, particularly amongst 16-24 year olds, as they switch to book via mobiles and tablets.

Table 1.1 – devices used to book a holiday in the UK or abroad online

  2014 2013
Tablet  18% 10%
Mobile 17% 13%
PC/laptop 93% 97%





According to the research, consumers regard the PC as the easiest and most secure way of booking online with 85% of those using a PC stating these as essential or important reasons for choosing it. Tablets are the preferred option for saving time with 77% of people who used a tablet saying this was an essential or important reason for choosing it. Mobile phones are the least preferred way of booking online as they are seen as relatively less secure and less easy to use than alternatives.

The increase in mobiles being used to book may be linked towards a trend for larger screen mobiles, so called “phablets”, which allow easier navigation of websites and also greater mobile functionality of travel websites. Tablet usage for holiday bookings broadly reflects the growth in tablet ownership; according to Ofcom over four in ten households (44%) now have a tablet – up from a quarter (24%) a year ago suggesting that tablets are growing in popularity as a booking device as greater numbers of people purchase them.

Age group preferences

Table 1.2 – devices used to book a holiday abroad or in the UK online by age group

  Total 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Tablet 18% 24% 27% 25% 12% 8% 6%
Mobile 17% 35% 30% 20% 7% 4% 3%
PC/laptop 93% 88% 92% 91% 95% 97% 95%


Those aged 25-34 were most likely to use a tablet to book a holiday online, with one third (27%) doing so, they were followed by a quarter (25%) of people aged 35-44.

The most prodigious users of mobiles to make a booking online were people with a young family (all children under 5), 40% of who have used a mobile to book a holiday online in the past 12 months suggesting that this device is particularly useful for time pushed families.

Victoria Bacon, Head of Communications ABTA said: “Market statistics show there has been significant growth in the use of tablets, as well as larger-screen mobile phones, and it is clear from these findings that consumers are growing more confident about using these devices not only to research their holidays but also to book them. The PC is still by far the most popular choice when it comes to booking online, suggesting that people are looking for security in their transactions as well as ease of navigation and booking process. Understanding how to market to tablet and smart phone users and provide easy to use and secure booking processes on these devices will be vitally important to travel providers going forward.”

  1. 74% of people booked a holiday online in the last year according to ABTA research.
  2. Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2014. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2014.

    A full summary of the research findings can be found in our Consumer Holiday Trends Report 2014.
  3. Figures do not add up to 100% because consumers were asked about all the holidays they booked online. Many consumers had booked more than one holiday online using different devices for each booking.
  4. According to Ofcom in The Communications Market Report 2014 .