Mobile web browsing leaps to 27.1% of travel website traffic

18 February 2013

Now we can bring you up-to-date with our own research in Wave 4 of the Nucleus Mobile Web Browsing Survey which certainly confirms Meeker’s own findings. This survey provides specific insights into the world of mobile website browsing in the travel industry, which is emerging as one of the big themes of 2013.

What we are observing is a continuing significant change in user behaviour, with approaching a third of all visitors to luxury sites already choosing to browse and shop on websites using a mobile device. The trajectory of the growth curve confirms it won’t be long before mobile browsers exceed PC users and we wave goodbye to the PC-era.

The key findings of this latest survey include:

  • Mobile browsing of travel websites leaps to 27.1% of all traffic in January 2013
  • Growth rate accelerates again, up 32.2% on previous period
  • iPad drives iOS to all time high, with an 88.3% share of mobile browsing devices; up from 84.9% six months earlier
  • iPad Mini reinforces iOS dominance, with 61.9% of all mobile browsing on iPads; iPhone 5 impact less obvious
  • Android still failing to grow browsing share, steady at 8% penetration
  • Luxury websites show highest mobile traffic, with >30% average penetration


The stand-out finding of this survey was the growing dominance of iOS devices for mobile browsing, particularly the iPad which now accounts for 61.9% of all website browsing, despite growing competition from other tablets and large screen smartphones. Some say that the iPad is closer to a PC than a smartphone, but iPad is largely responsible for a huge change in user behaviour. This means that all websites now need to offer finger-friendly responsive design and those that don’t will lose out.

Here at Nucleus, we remain puzzled by Android’s continued lack of mobile browsing penetration, given the number of devices shipped, and plenty of data saying Android devices outsell iOS at 5 or 6:1. How can this be, when Android is actually reducing as a percentage of mobile browsing devices over the past year? Are Android devices just being used as phones or readers and not for web browsing? Are demographic factors at work? Or are Android’s inferior web browsers compromising website experiences to the point no-one bothers trying?

We’d like to hear your views...

Peter Matthews
Nucleus Founder & CEO
February 2013

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