Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers 2018

10 Apr 2019

38.3 million trips taken by Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers in 2018

 The UK Continental ferry and tunnel market rose by 2.5% in 2018 in terms of the number of trips taken. While ferries continue to capture the largest share of the market, relative to Eurotunnel and Eurostar, they have under-performed their tunnel rivals since 2010 and over 2017/18.

These findings come from the Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers 2018 report. This report provides an analysis of UK residents who travelled to the Continent by ferry and tunnel in 2018. While it is a standalone report, it can also be used as a supplement to the UK Ferry Market Report 2018, published in 2019. Both reports contain results from the monthly IRN Research Ferrystat report and results from an online survey of UK residents who travelled to the Continent in 2018. The online survey generated 4,116 responses from passengers that had travelled by ferry or tunnel in 2018.  This report, in contrast with UK Ferry Market 2018, includes more analysis of tunnel passengers, provides more in-depth analysis of trip takers and only looks at Continental market trends (the UK Ferry Market includes market trends for the UK-Ireland and Domestic Ferry Markets).

Five Basic Types of Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passenger

A key finding from the online survey is that Continental trip takers can be segmented into five groups:

  • Happy Campers – show a strong tendency to go camping and travel in a Campervan/with caravan. They are more important customers for the ferries rather than the tunnel.
  • Self (or Independent) Packagers – show a strong tendency towards taking independent holidays, staying in self-catering accommodation and travelling by car. They are especially important as passengers for the Western Channel and Short Sea Ferry routes and for Eurotunnel.
  • The Break Takers – show a strong tendency towards taking shorter breaks, staying abroad for less than 4 nights and staying in hotels. They are especially important for the North Sea ferry route and Eurostar.
  • The Family Orientated – show a strong tendency to stay with friends and family or in their own second homes. They are especially important as customers for Eurostar.
  • Day Trippers – only travelled for a day trip with many using their trip for shopping purposes. They are especially important for the North Sea Ferry and Eurotunnel routes.

Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers book their trips in two ways

 In terms of how they book their trips abroad, Continental Travellers can also be split into two camps:

  • Planners – tend to book and plan their trips well in advance of travel. Typically, they plan a trip 5.6 months before travel and book 4.4 months before travel, implying a planning period of 1.2 months.
  • Spontaneous – tend to book and plan their trips close to the date of travel. Typically, they plan a trip 1.4 months before travel and book 1 month before travel, implying a planning period of 0.4 months (i.e. less than 2 weeks).

Three factors determine which route/mode of transport is used by Ferry and Tunnel Passengers

There are three fundamental factors that drive trip/operator selection: the cost of the trip, the Journey/Route and the On-board ambience. The first two are the main choice drivers, in other words, choice is fundamentally driven by the journey/route and its cost or getting from A to B at a reasonable cost.

Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers View Ferry Crossings and Tunnel Crossings Differently

On-board factors are in a relative sense more important to ferry passengers compared with tunnel passengers, because while travelling on ferries is a leisure experience, which can include shopping/eating out and sleeping, travelling by tunnel, in contrast, is more of a transport experience, like travelling on the underground or national rail service.

For Ferrystat subscribers, the report (60pp, PDF), is available directly from IRN Research, priced at £90. UK sterling price is plus VAT, so total price is £108.

For non-Ferrystat subscribers, the report is priced at £500, or £600 including VAT.

The two related reports – UK Ferry Market 2018 (priced at £500 excluding VAT) and the UK Continental Ferry and Tunnel Passengers 2018 (priced at £500, excluding VAT) can be purchased together for £650, or £780 including VAT.

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Related IRN Reports

UK Ferry Market 2018

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