20 Aug

Travellers’ pre-holiday spend on technology overtakes holiday clothing costs

Amount holidaymakers spend on electronics has doubled 

Holidaymakers are now spending more on technology than clothes before their summer holiday, reveals new research1 from ABTA – the Travel Association. 

The research finds the amount UK travellers spent on electronic items and accessories, such as smartphones and digital cameras, before a trip has grown to a total of almost £1.8 billion, overtaking the amount spent on the holiday wardrobe, which comes in at £1.6 billion. 

Not only are people spending more on tech than togs, the amount spent has almost doubled – with a 99% increase since 2014, up from £897 million. 

New survey data2 also reveals the most common electrical items in people’s suitcases and hand baggage come as little surprise with smartphones (75%), headphones and earphones (41%), tablets (35%) and cameras (34%) topping the list.

However, personal grooming and exercise devices also feature highly with 26% of Brits saying they tend to take an electronic toothbrush on holiday, and 12% of people taking an electronic razor or exercise tracker. Other items listed include gaming devices, digital radio, bicycle GPS systems, torch and even a surge protector!

ABTA believes the shift in spending reflects the integral role technology plays in shaping people’s holiday plans and experiences, as devices are increasingly used to help people find their way around, store tickets and booking information, and capture their experiences - whether that’s through a selfie or an overhead video from a drone. 

People are also using their electronic devices to share their holiday activities with friends and family back home through social media and messaging services, which can be particularly important for solo travellers or those on an extended trip.  

It’s not just in the holidaymakers’ suitcases where we are seeing an increasing inclusion of electronics, tech-based travel is expanding with everything from facial recognition at airports to automatic sun-cream booths at hotels, and improved Wi-Fi services on most modern cruise ships is also attracting more younger travellers.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s Director of Brand and Business Development, said:

“The increase in spending on a diverse range of technology shows just how important tech is to people’s travel experiences.

“Holidaymakers now can’t go away without their electronic essentials, whether that’s various cameras to help them get the best holiday photos or video, or devices to help them keep track of their exercise while away.

“Travel companies are also using tech to streamline their services or make some of the more arduous holiday tasks – like applying sun cream – that bit easier. If you are yet to take a trip this year, there are still good value holidays available, including lots of great options for October half term break.”  

Top ten travel tech items:

  1. Smartphone (75%)
  2. Headphones/ earphones (41%)
  3. Tablet (35%)
  4. Camera (34%)
  5. Electric toothbrush (26%)
  6. Powerpack (19%)
  7. Electronic reading device (18%)
  8. Laptop (16%)
  9. Sat nav (14%)
  10. Fitbit/exercise tracker and electric razor (12%)

Holidaymakers who have booked with an ABTA Member will have access to the support, protection and expertise provided by ABTA so people can travel with confidence. You can find an ABTA Member by visiting abta.com/findamember.

For further information, contact:
ABTA press office, press@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0596

Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via landline: 020 3693 0183
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel

Notes to editors
1 CEBR analysis for ABTA’s ‘Driving Growth: the economic value of outbound travel 2019’

2 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from an online survey with a total sample size of 2,081 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken by YouGov Plc between 4th and 5th July 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.