03/03/2011 5 Comments
Since the arrival of the Smartphone (not only iPhone but also Android, BlackBerry and newer Nokia devices) and the increasing public awareness thereof, end users (including travellers) have been quick to embrace mobile applications (apps). In the last 12 months there has been an explosion of companies leveraging apps to capture the benefits of mobile technology. According to BITKOM about 900 million apps have been downloaded in Germany in 2010 generating an annual growth of 112% and revenues of 357 million Euro. Over 25% of the German population own and more interestingly use their Smartphone to access the mobile internet: this has become a mass market.
By today the German Apple App Store accounts for about 300.000 apps including 18.324 travel apps (category travel). This is rank no. 7 just after category Utilities with 19.020 apps. Interestingly paid apps account for 72% and only 28% are free travel apps. In terms of downloads the most popular free travel app (in Germany DB Navigator) will reach over 2 million in 2011 and Kayak already has more than 5 million downloads in the US.
Within the App Store category Travel we had a close look at different apps. We analysed the most interesting ones and created 16 categories relating to the travel industry. For each category we took (if available) five travel apps and tried to extract their differences in terms of functionality, ranking and App Store user reviews. We discovered very interesting features and multiple approaches to creating and marketing apps.
The Search function for example, is important for finding places, hotels, train or rental car stations, connections or directions. The analysis showed that there are 10 different ways search (from Augmented Reality to Voice) is used by the app providers. Or Social Media features can range from pure Facebook or Twitter links to integrated sharing functionalities with other Social Media apps. It is also notable that for travel companies booking and reservation via mobile becomes a real positive return on investment business case.
Some players believe that mobile commerce will be arround 20% of their revenue share within the next few years. We think too, that this can be true, because Smartphone apps can create a user experience that is superior to using the corresponding website with the desktop device, and at the same time add specific value to certain travel related use cases. However we also discovered that only a fraction of travel companies do a good job with their mobile strategy which is not understandable considering the importance of the mobile channel.
So we are excited about the future developments in this segment and hope to bring you with this first edition of the Mobile Travel App Catalog, interesting insights into the market. We are also looking forward to getting feedback from you on your mobile experience.