Mobile travel bookings continue to grow, with 40% of all digital travel sales expected to come from smartphones and tablets this year, eMarketer forecasted. That's a 16.7% increase.

In 2017, eMarketer forecasted that there will be $189.6 billion in digital travel sales (encompassing airline, car rental, cruise, hotel and other accommodations, and ground transportation). Of that total, $75.85 billion is expected to come from mobile devices.

Mobile travel bookings are forecasted to account for nearly half of all online travel sales by 2021.

This year, travel sales on desktops and laptops will drop 1.6%, to $113.77 billion, accounting for 60% of online travel sales.

eMarketer found that smartphones are more heavily used than tablets, accounting for 81.2% of all mobile travel bookings.

Travel research on mobile phones is also on the rise. eMarketer said 140.3 million adults in the U.S. will do online trip research this year (101.4 million on a smartphone), a 13.1% increase.

"Last-minute travel deals are helping to drive mobile sales, as consumers opt to book right away via their smartphones," said Chris Bendtsen, eMarketer forecasting analyst. "Consumers are booking more travel on mobile due to larger smartphone screens, easier mobile payment methods and overall habits shifting to mobile. Also, airlines, hotels and online travel agencies have made both apps and mobile websites easier to use."

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