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JiWire: Airport Web Users Let Time Fly By

Most travelers who log on to airport Wi-Fi stay on for 30 minutes or more, according to a new study by JiWire. The second Mobile Audience Insights Report, released today (Nov. 17), found that 81 percent of airport Wi-Fi users stay logged onto the Web for at least 30 minutes or more, and about one third (32 percent) are connected for an hour or more.

Drawing on data of more than 2,600 Wi-Fi users’ activity in June and July 2009 across more than 80 U.S. airports, the study found that travelers used the service for a variety of reasons, depending on their reasons for travel. Business travelers, which made up 72 percent of airport travelers, checked their business-related (94 percent) and personal e-mail (68 percent). They also searched for local information (35 percent), visited social networking sites (26 percent) and engaged in online games (3 percent).

Checking personal (86 percent) and business-related e-mail (36 percent) was also a popular activity among leisure travelers, as well as social networking (51 percent), looking for local information (36 percent) and online gaming (13 percent).

“There’s always been this perception that a business traveler is…checking e-mail and then running through the gate,” said David Staas, senior vp, marketing of JiWire. “Now you have a very different profile of the user. That opens the gate up a lot more for marketers in terms of what the business user is doing. They’re bringing their entire Internet experience with them.”

The majority of travelers (75 percent), whether traveling for business or personal reasons, reported plans to make big ticket purchases within the next 12 months. Items of interest included Smartphones, vehicles, stocks, laptops and flat-panel TVs.

Over half (53 percent) of business travelers said they earned $100k or more annually and travel at least once per month (52 percent). Twenty-two percent of leisure travelers earned at least $100,000 per year, with the majority (76 percent) planning to travel at least two to three times within the next year.

According to JiWire data, airport travelers made up 27.2 percent of public Wi-Fi users in the third quarter of 2009, marking an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous quarter. The study mainly attributes this growth to the busy summer travel season.