Travellers are spending more on technology pre-holiday than on clothes for the first time
According to new research from ABTA – the Travel Association, the pre-holiday spend on electronic items and accessories, such as smartphones and digital cameras, has grown to a total of almost £1.8 billion, overtaking spend on holiday wardrobe, which comes in at £1.6 billion. The amount has almost doubled, with a 99% increase since 2014 – up from £897 million.
New survey data also reveals the most common items in people’s suitcases. The results come as little surprise, with smartphones (75%), headphones and earphones (41%), tablets (35%) and cameras (34%) topping the list. Personal grooming and exercise devices also feature highly, with 26% of Brits saying they take an electronic toothbrush, and 12% taking an electronic razor or exercise tracker. Other items include gaming devices, digital radios, bicycle GPS systems, torches and even a surge protector.
The shift in spending reflects the integral role tech plays in shaping people’s holidays. Devices are increasingly used to help people find their way around, store tickets and booking information and capture their experiences, whether that’s through a selfie or with overhead footage recorded by a drone. People are also using their electronic devices to share their activities with friends and family back home through social media and messaging services, which can be important for solo travellers or those on an extended trip.
And it isn’t just holidaymakers. Tech-based travel is expanding with everything from facial recognition at airports to automatic sun-cream booths at hotels, and improved wifi services on most modern cruise ships.
Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s director of brand and business development, said: “The increase shows just how important technology is to people’s travel experiences. Holidaymakers now can’t go away without their electronic essentials, whether that’s cameras to help them get the best holiday photos or devices to help them keep track of their exercise. Travel companies are also using technology to streamline their services or make some of the more arduous holiday tasks – like applying sun cream – that bit easier.”