British consumers spent 14% more on online travel arrangements in 2012 than they did in 2011, according to global business and technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group. That’s a higher growth rate than recorded in each of the previous two years, and mirrors the 14% total year-over-year e-retail growth rate last year for the United Kingdom.
Over all of last year, holiday-seeking shoppers spent £958 ($1,507.89) on average, the highest recorded yearly average, they say. And in July, U.K. online travel spending reached an all-time record high of £1,050 ($1,652.70) on average.
Some travel agencies have noticed the increased spending. “Our year-on-year performance has increased consistently for the past three years,” says Sue Chapman, head of e-commerce at U.K.-based Co-operative Travel. “The average booking value is rising and repeat business is high, showing that customer loyalty is more important than ever.”
Until last year, online travel growth trailed that of online retail in the United Kingdom. In 2010, online travel sales increased 11% year over year, compared with 18% for e-retail, and in 2011 online travel sales increased 7% year over year, compared with 16% for e-retail, Capgemeni and IMRG say.
“Although the economic outlook remains uncertain, the online travel sector has performed far better in 2012 than the past few years, so we may be seeing a return to some degree of normality,” says Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG. “That said, consumer confidence in 2012 did receive an uncommon boost by the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee, so it will be interesting to see if this resurgence for online travel continues in 2013.” The Diamond Jubilee was a nationwide celebration of the 60-year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, held in June 2012.
Capgemini and IMRG predict that U.K. e-commerce will grow slightly less this year compared with last, 12% year over year rather than 14%.