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How smartphones influence travel around the world
19 March 2018
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Recent research by Phocuswright for Google looked at how travelers around the world use their smartphones to shop, for booking, and at the trip destination.

Researchers gathered data from smartphone-using travelers in 5 countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, UK and USA.

Some key findings

% comfortable with researching, booking and planning entire trip to a new destination using only their mobile device:

Most comfortable:

  1. India 87%
  2. Brazil 67%

Least comfortable:

  1. Germany 27%
  2. France 44%

% who consider researching airfares on their mobile device to be easy:


  1. India 76%
  2. Brazil 64%


  1. Germany 33%
  2. France 36%

% who consider researching hotels on their mobile device to be easy:


  1. India 77%
  2. Brazil 66%


  1. Germany 39%
  2. UK 42%

% who use smartphone in-destination to get directions:


  1. South Korea 83%
  2. Brazil 67%


  1. Germany 49%
  2. France 51%

In Google's published report on this research (See External Article), the authors don't offer any conclusions as to the differences among smartphone users from the various countries. But it would be very interesting to have some insights into those differences.

Some speculations:

  • Germans seem to place the least trust in smartphones. We've heard that Germans like to research their trips online but also use bricks-and-mortar travel agencies for booking. Guarantee/insurance may be an issue. But in any case, Germans look to be the most difficult international market to reach by smartphone.
  • France and the UK also seem to be home to persons less comfortable with smartphones for travel planning. Government regulation of travel agencies that provides a safety net for travelers may be an issue in these countries also.
  • Travelers from India, Brazil and South Korea seem to be most comfortable in general with using their smartphones for travel planning. Maybe that's because of the very extensive penetration of smartphones in these markets, or for the ease of translating content into languages in which it's not published directly. To get these travelers, cooperate with Google's Mobile First policy.

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