SilverRail has revealed behavioural trends of UK travellers when purchasing rail tickets and highlights a number of opportunities for the industry.
Data included in the company’s first Market Insight Report indicates that only 20 per cent of all UK rail tickets purchased in 2015 were through online channels, despite growth in online sales over the past seven years.
In response to these findings, Cameron Jones, chief commercial officer at SilverRail, said: “The UK is one of the strongest e-commerce markets globally; 76 per cent of consumers now own a smartphone, and nearly half of the population have bought groceries online.
“It is clear that the public is steering towards online purchasing more and more, and that this trend will only continue to grow.
“Yet, our report highlights that UK rail is significantly behind the pace – even in comparison to other European rail carriers.
“In France and Spain, over 40 per cent of rail tickets are purchased online, in Sweden it is as much as 90 per cent.
“It is encouraging to see growth in online sales in the UK but, with 80 per cent of rail passengers still using offline channels to complete their rail ticket purchases, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“Other industries are thriving online, but train operating companies have so far been unable to fully capitalise on this opportunity, which could give them a key competitive differentiator in the market.”
The UK Rail Market Insights Report also reveals an interesting trend when looking at how purchasing behaviour changes depending on how close to departure bookings are made.
When travellers purchase advance tickets (more than one week ahead of departure), online purchases account for more than 50 per cent of those sales.
“In comparison travellers who book during the week of departure overwhelmingly book offline, with 75 per cent of purchases made at a ticket office.”
The Report offers the most comprehensive look at the UK’s rail industry today, offering insights into rail usage stats, ticketing, comparisons across Europe, passenger satisfaction levels, investments and more.
The full Report can be downloaded through the SilverRail website here.