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Apptopia-estimated downloads for the Airbnb (ABNB) app continued to strengthen in 2Q, up +10% QoQ and +8% YoY.

Meanwhile, Online Travel Agency app growth is down -9% YoY in 2Q.

Airbnb mobile trends exceed consensus estimates for a -3% QoQ decline in Nights and Experiences Booked. (Earnings report scheduled Aug. 3)

Airbnb’s strong mobile performance is not its only differentiating characteristic. Unlike peers, Airbnb does not have low-cost-focused subsidiaries (e.g., CheapTickets, Cheapflights), a product focused on price prediction (e.g., Expedia, Hopper), or a rewards program. 

While interest rates and inflation remain top-of-mind, it is important to note that airline ticket prices fell last month. We have seen some similar trends in our data, as travel and retail growth have weakened. The remaining pockets of strength come from low-cost airline carriers and discount e-commerce marketplaces.

Airlines have so far been reporting beats on 2Q earnings, both due to budget travelers (RYAA) and premium consumers (according to DAL, AAL). Airlines that marketed in the middle – for example JetBlue – stand out but not in a good way; JetBlue’s YoY decline in mobile activity was -9% in June. Perhaps ending its partnership with American Airlines last month impacted demand. 

Back to Airbnb – the company acknowledged a loyalty program is one of the top asks from customers and is on a list of what is being “worked on” this summer. As mobile data points to narrowing growth in the travel sector year-to-date, Airbnb would be well-suited to position itself where the growth is, namely either toward price conscious or premium customers. This may be required as part of a survival strategy!