Despite inflation, downloads of travel and navigation apps are on the rise


Despite inflation, downloads of travel and navigation apps, up 25% year-on-year, top 1.4 billion worldwide from January to May 2022 as high peak approaches travel season. Latest analysis from data.ai shows downloads of AirBnB, Booking.com and Expedia apps in the US doubled in the first week of May compared to the first week of the year as consumers plan their trips of summer.

What is happening :

A recent data.ai analysis shows that the use of travel and navigation apps has grown steadily since January this year. It also shows an increase in app downloads year-over-year across the top 5 travel apps across 3 different app sub-genres – highlighting that US consumers are keen to travel regardless of travel concerns. inflation.

In fact, more than 80% of American adults plan to travel this summer. Additionally, a study by the US Travel Association found that Americans spent $95 billion on travel in March 2022, just 5% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019, indicating that we are on the way for a continued rebound in the sector.

According to data.ai’s App IQ, app downloads of the top 5 transportation and navigation apps in the US topped 21 million in the first 18 weeks of 2022, compared to the top 18 weeks of 2021, a 2% increase despite slight declines in Lyft and Waze. GasBuddy has taken the lead, tripling its downloads to almost 2 million so far in 2022, a 190% increase over the previous year – which can likely be largely attributed to consumer feedback. to the increase in the price of gasoline. Nearly half of GasBuddy users were over the age of 45, showing concern among Gen Xers and baby boomers in the United States.

Airline apps saw the largest percentage increase over the previous year (+54%), with the top 5 airline apps all seeing a substantial increase in downloads. The leading airline app is that of United Airlines, which has 57% women and 53% users between the ages of 25 and 44, or “millennials”. The top five apps for hotel reservations and integrated travel services saw a 34% increase in downloads over the previous year, with the number one app in this category being VRBO. Interestingly, the demographics of iPhone users in the US reveal that VRBO is predominantly female (76%) and 56% aged 25-44. Such data helps app publishers determine the demographics of users who are most engaged on an app versus those who require further targeting. It is important to factor this into a moving strategy during times of high seasonal demand.

Why it matters:

Looking at the downloads and weekly active users of six select travel and accommodation apps (Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Hopper, Hotel Tonight, and Kayak), data.ai found that overall the inflation had no impact on consumer app activity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: of the selected apps, Booking.com has seen the biggest year-to-date growth, up 122% in downloads and 95% in WAUs during the week starting May 1, 2022 compared to the week starting January 2, 2022. This indicates that people are in planning mode and preparing for long-awaited summer trips after years of travel disruptions due à la Covid – and they’re looking for a bargain while doing it.

Hopper saw one of the first spikes in download activity in February 2022, but Airbnb began to gain momentum in late January to edge Expedia slightly in the week beginning May 1, 2022. Despite this, growth downloads from Expedia is remarkable, with a 162% increase in the first week of May 2022 compared to the first week of January 2022. Airbnb has implemented a paid download campaign since the beginning of the year , and its investments have paid off: more than half of its iOS downloads in the US between January and March 2022 come from paid sources.

Even with inflation picking up in the spring, weekly active users have steadily increased for Expedia, Booking.com and Hopper. This data, which highlights the fact that consumers are seeking travel and adventure despite volatile market conditions, suggests that app publishers should take advantage of this year’s travel season to reach consumers and make creativity in advertising to exploit latent travel desires. Demographics give travel app publishers additional insight into their current top consumers and who they should be trying to attract more.

Looking at weekly data for the same period ending May 8, 2022, data.ai found an increase in total time spent on Android phones for each of the 6 apps, as well as an increase in average active days and retention users for 5 of the 6 applications.

Overall, data.ai’s analysis shows consumers are eager to travel amid easing restrictions, despite inflation concerns. The surge in GasBuddy downloads shows that consumers are still looking for ways to save money when traveling or commuting between home and work (rather than avoiding the trip altogether). Total time spent in Hopper was up 142% year over year, suggesting consumers are spending more time looking for ways to save money while still prioritizing travel.