09 Oct

Cruise audience continues to diversify

More young people are considering going on a cruise in the next 12 months compared to last year, finds ABTA’s latest Holiday Habits report. More than one in ten 18-34 year olds (12%) are looking to take one in the next 12 months, compared to 11% of 18-24 year olds and 9% of 25-34 year olds in 2017.

Although the younger age groups are less likely to have been on a cruise holiday, they are open to the idea. Over half (53%) of 18-24 year olds are interested in taking a cruise (but have not done so previously) – 3% up on last year, followed by more than two-fifths (45%) of 25-34 year olds. In recent years cruise companies have clearly recognised this market potential – by developing ships and itineraries designed specifically for these generations as well as through more targeted marketing campaigns to these age groups.

Cruise holidays have been taken by one in 12 (8%) of respondents in the past 12 months, up 1% from last year, with one in eight (12%) considering going on one in the next 12 months. Same as last year, three quarters of people are yet to go on a cruise holiday, with 39% of respondents saying they have not been on a cruise but are interested. Among people who have been on a cruise, people aged 65 and over are most likely to want to go on another one (29%).

People who have taken a cruise holiday valued the quality of the food and drink available (78%) and the ‘chance to see multiple destinations’ (76%) most – these two options have switched around since 2017. Quality of accommodation is another element people value (64%), this was the most popular reason cited by the youngest age groups (18-34). This year we asked for the first time about the variety of itineraries, and over half (51%) of people said they valued this when on a cruise.

Victoria Bacon, Director of Brand and Business Development, said:

“The cruise industry is adapting to the changing demographics and demands of holidaymakers. Young people are showing a significant interest in cruise holidays and companies are investing in tech upgrades to appeal to this next generation of holidaymakers, with many capitalising on new technology and fast Wi-Fi across their fleets.

“On board preferences are changing too, with the quality of food and drink now the number one priority, and many companies are reflecting this by offering menus curated by Michelin star chefs and wider ranges of cuisine to cater to evolving tastes.”

Notes to editors

The full report is available to download from abta.com/holidayhabits2018.

Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in leisure and tourism market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2018. Fieldwork was conducted between the end of July and beginning of August 2018.