The latest study into mobile browsing of travel websites by London-based digital agency Nucleus suggests growth in the last six months was more than two times that in the preceding half year.
The fourth such analysis of mobile traffic by Nucleus (which can be downloaded from its website) also found that the Apple iOS platform grew its share to an all-time high (88.3%) as its nearest challenger, Google’s Android, flatlined at just 8%.
Apple’s iOS benefitted from growth in iPad browsing during the study period to January 2013, according to data from 10 travel websites accounting for 1.7 million unique visitors.
Overall, mobile traffic accounted for 27.1% of all searches, up from 20.5% when Nucleus released the third installment of its Mobile Web Browsing Survey.
Peter Matthews, Nucleus founder and chief executive, said: “Our latest survey confirms we have entered the mobile era.
“With mobile traffic growing at 31.7% in the past six months, we do not believe it will be very long until mobile devices account for the majority of website browsing.”
Nucleus’ previous study found mobile web browsing was growing at 13.8%, apparent confirmation of anecdotal reports of the accelerating growth rate of the channel.
Nucleus believes the launch last year of the iPad mini helped to further establish iOS as the dominant platform in travel.
This leadership by Apple, the mobile sector’s premium brand, may also explain the finding that luxury travel websites are receiving the highest percentage of mobile traffic at 30%.
Matthews added: “The other stand-out finding was that growing dominance of iOS devices for mobile browsing, particularly the iPad which now accounts for 61.9% of all website browsing.
“Some would say that the iPad is closer to a PC than a smartphone, but iPad is responsible for a huge change in user behaviour. This means that all websites now need to offer finger-friendly design.
“We remain puzzled by Android’s continued lack of mobile penetration in the survey, especially by Android tablet, given the numbers shipped, but for now put this down to inferior web browsers and therefore compromised browsing experiences.”