A third of people researching travel on the web are now using mobile devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone, according to new research. The figure of 33% is a huge jump on last year when it was just 13%. The most popular mobile device for researching travel is now the iPad, followed by the iPhone. Apple products have 85% of the entire market.
The study by 101 Holidays, the travel inspiration website, looked at more than 1 million visits over a five-month period ending September 2012. The data was compared with the same period in 2011.
Even during the five-month period the proportion of visits from mobile devices rose from 26% in April to 33% to September 2012.
101 Holidays is a popular website with more than 3 million unique annual visitors, 80% from the UK. It is focussed on early-stage inspiration, with most visitors undecided about where they plan to travel. Each site is edited by award-winning travel writers who recommend 101 holiday destinations.
The study also showed how the growth in mobile devices has changed the behaviour of travel searchers. Visitors using the iPad tend to stay longer on the site and are more likely to return. Most visits from iPads are made on Sundays - twice the number of Friday, the least busy day.
This supports anecdotal evidence that people are now researching travel on tablets and phones while at home, often at the same time as watching TV. On weekdays, when many people are at work, desktop use rises again and the use of tablets falls back.
Visitors from mobile devices also spend longer on the site on Sundays. Average time on site amongst tablet users is 3 minutes 11 seconds on Sundays, compared to 2 minutes 40 seconds on Fridays.