U.K. airline web traffic is above pre-pandemic levels
While Similarweb data shows a seasonal decline in U.K. airline web traffic after a red-hot summer, traffic remains elevated above pre-pandemic levels, indicating healthy demand. Given this dynamic, holiday flights are likely to be crowded and expensive compared with last year.
- Aggregated web traffic for seven large UK. airlines (Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air, Jet2, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa) rose 8% in October 2022, year over year, but was down 12% from September, in what we see as a normal seasonal decline. October traffic was up 99% over October 2020 (during the pandemic), and was up 3% over October 2019 (pre-pandemic).
- EasyJet leads the industry in web traffic, with 64.2 million web visitors on desktop and mobile web in October 2022, representing a 29% share of traffic among the seven airlines. British Airways (8.32 million or 25% share) and Ryanair (8.2 million, or 25%) are in a battle for second place in terms of web traffic while Jet2 is in fourth place with 3.1 million visitors (9%).
- Similarweb data on airline conversions (percentage of web visits that end up in a sale) suggests healthy demand, with October 2022 conversions up 15% over October 2021.
Aggregated traffic for six large U.K. airlines suggests demand strength with normal seasonality returning
Taking a look at aggregated web traffic to six of the largest U.K. airlines landing pages, shows that while airlines are seeing a seasonal decline in web traffic after a red-hot summer, overall fall web traffic remains elevated over similar periods in prior years, including pre-pandemic. The airlines used in the below chart include EasyJet, Ryanair, British Airways, Wizz Air, Jet2, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic. While the chart is trending downward, this is normal seasonality after a very strong summer. The industry saw similar dips in web traffic in each of the past three years as well. Overall, this chart is indicative of strong demand for the holidays.
EasyJet leads the pack in web traffic, followed by British Airways and Ryanair
In terms of U.K. airline market share, EasyJet is the leader in the space, based on web traffic. In October 2022, EasyJet had 9.5 million visitors to its website on desktop and mobile web, followed by British Airways (8.32 million), Ryanair (8.29 million) and Jet2 (3.1 million).
As a percentage of the group, EasyJet made up 29% of the seven U.K. airlines in this peer group in October 2022, followed by British Airways and Ryanair both at 25% (with British Airways holding a fractional lead), Jet2 (9%), Wizz Air (7%) Virgin Atlantic (4%) and Lufthansa (2%).
U.K. Airline conversions are still below 2019, but above past two years
Similarweb data on airline conversions (visits to an airline website that lead to a sale) were still well below pre-pandemic levels in October 2022, but have shown significant improvement over the past two years. October 2022 conversions in aggregate (Similarweb has conversion data for Easyjet, Ryanair, British Airways and Wizz Air) were 15% higher than October 2021, and were up 137% over October 2020. However, conversions still lagged in October 2019 by 37%. Airline conversions are a leading indicator of future travel, so with conversions higher than in the past two years, you would expect flights to be full and expensive versus the past two holiday travel seasons.
In terms of the individual airlines, conversions are generally following market share, with EasyJet in the lead with 293k converted visits in October 2022, followed by Ryanair (179k) British Airways (149k) and Wizz Air (116k).
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Report By: Jim Corridore, Senior Insights Manager
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