Europeans simply can not (or will not) leave the Internet at home, according to new research that shows that 95 percent of holidayers jet off with at least one Internet-enabled device in Their Luggage. It seems that more than half of Europeans take at least one holiday each year, which means some 250 million people are well-versed in planning what essential items to squeeze into their luggage.
New research from network services firm Brocade shows that half of Europeans plan to access the Internet at least once a day while on vacation and more than 40 percent actively seek destinations that offer always-on connectivity, from anywhere at anytime, placing a huge burden on service providers and leisure facilities to ensure adequate coverage in even the most remote of locations.
A quarter of sun-seekers report that they have accessed content from the beach, and, amazingly, four percent have found time to log on in the jungle.
"The findings just go to show that in 2011, we are hugely connected, no matter what we are doing, and we fully expect to be able to get online from anywhere in the world," said John McHugh, vice president and chief marketing officer at Brocade. "With nearly half of the people we spoke to relying on connectivity to stream audio or video files while on holiday to enhance their relaxation time, businesses need to consider what the modern traveler wants. Whether it's a hotel or beach bar, failure to deliver online services could not only damage brand equity but also jeopardize the bottom line."
Internet penetration in Europe far exceeds the global average—67 percent versus 27 percent—and the number of users has grown almost 260 percent since 2000. Users today demand ubiquitous access to content, from wherever they might be, which has seen use of mobile devices soar in recent years. Market researcher IDC, for example, states that smartphone sales more than doubled year-over-year in the first three months of 2011, seeing almost 100 million devices sold. Add to this the fact that video and TV streaming will soon surpass Web and Internet traffic, and it is easy to see how modern consumer habits are changing, even in terms of planning vacations around Internet connectivity.
According to the research, typical holidaymakers take at least one mobile device with them, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone. The majority of respondents rely on these devices to stay in touch with friends and family at home, with 40 percent freely admitting that they cannot be separated from their social media tools. And nearly a third of respondents use their devices on holiday for work reasons—such as checking e-mails, downloading documents or just being available to customers and co-workers—despite almost 60 percent admitting that it occasionally causes friction with their fellow relaxation seekers. Other key findings included:
- 64 percent of respondents were between 25 and 44 years old, indicating that the professional age group is driving the need for always-on connectivity
- Of the respondents, 84 percent relied on smartphones while on holiday, favoring ultra-portable devices over bulkier devices, such as laptops
- Half continued to use their devices (personal or work) abroad just as if they were at home, with more than three quarters regularly downloading personal e-mail and 48 percent accessing work e-mail/documents
- Only seven percent never accessed the Internet while holiday