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There has been a sharp increase in the number of customers booking holidays via tablet devices in the past year, but the use of mobiles for travel bookings remains largely flat.

A survey of 2,003 consumers, by market research consultancy Arkenford on behalf of Abta, found 24% of online bookers had bought at least one holiday via a tablet in the past 12 months, compared with 16% on a smartphone. The figures were 18% and 17% respectively a year ago.

PCs and laptops are still by far the most popular device for online booking, with 91% of bookers using this medium. But the rise in tablet bookings led to a slight drop from the 2014 figure of 93%.

Ease-of-use was cited by many respondents as the reason for their choice of PC or tablet.

The findings also suggest travel is lagging behind other sectors for mobile booking, with an Ofcom report finding that 45% of people use mobiles for online purchases across all industries.

Younger respondents are key to the rise in tablet bookings, with 38% of 16 to 24-year-olds and 25 to 34-year-olds having used one to book in the past 12 months, compared with 24% and 27% in 2014.

Younger age groups appear more comfortable using a mobile to book, with 33% of 16 to 24-year-olds booking in this way compared with 7% in the 45 to 54 bracket.

Victoria Bacon, head of brand and business development at Abta, said: “Computers remain the most popular booking device for people booking their holidays online, reflecting the fact that purchasing a holiday is often a more complicated process than other retail offers.

“While smartphones have a long way to go to catch up with PCs and tablets when it comes to holiday bookings, their popularity among younger age groups suggests they will grow in relevance, so travel companies should continue to develop and grow their mobile sales strategies.”