International tourism trends: Where did the Americans go this summer?

Presentation of the results of a study conducted by Ubigi through the analysis of international mobile data consumption habits

After two consecutive years marked by the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on tourism, Ubigi, provider of cellular connectivity in 180+ destinations, unveils global travel trends during the summer. In particular, it reports the favorite tourist destinations of the Americans, based on their data consumption. This international study is based on an analysis of the consumption of Ubigi’s eSIM mobile data plans by a sample of 10,000 users, between July and August 2021, according to their country of residence.

First of all, at the international level, Ubigi has observed a very significant upturn in data consumption during the summer, as travel restrictions were lifted in many countries: the volume of sales of Ubigi’s eSIM data plans has doubled in July and August 2021 compared to May and June 2021, and it tripled (+ 246%) compared to the same period in 2020.

At country level, Ubigi confirms that the Americans have been the champions of the eSIM adoption, placing themselves as the first users of Ubigi’s data plans, both abroad and at home. Why and where did they go?

Ubigi, a key player in international mobility, shares the main results of its study.

Key figures of the study for the United States 

The Americans, champions of roaming data usage

  • 73% of the data consumed by the Americans was used abroad.

Europe, top tourist destination for the Americans this summer

  • 55% of the data consumed by Americans subscribing to a Ubigi data plan was carried out in Europe, revealing their appetite for this geographical area.
  • Among the European countries visited, the United States particularly favored France, with 21% of their total data consumption with Ubigi in this country this summer.
  • American tourists also went to other European destinations such as Spain (6%)[1], Greece (6%), Great Britain (6%) and Italy (5%).

Important nationwide use of the eSIM as well

  • While Americans mostly used their eSIM abroad, they used Ubigi data plans too to travel within the United States, for 27% of their total data consumption on the period.

Ubigi eSIM, the perfect travel companion!

  • In view of the increase in the use of data plans this summer, Ubigi notes a real adoption of the eSIM, both for international and local use.

What is the eSIM?

The eSIM (or virtual SIM) is a new feature built into many models of recent smartphones, tablets, and computers. It allows you to activate a mobile data plan instantly, without having to use a physical SIM card.

Its users can combine multiple eSIM profiles from different operators and easily switch between them in the device settings. Travelers can therefore keep their physical SIM card (with their usual phone number) to make phone calls, and at the same time, use an eSIM data plan to connect to the Internet locally.

With the data plans offered by Ubigi, significant savings can be made when traveling abroad, thanks to all the international agreements signed by the brand in more than 180 countries and destinations. Ubigi’s subscribers thus benefit from prepaid data plans at nearly local rates, with no surprises in terms of roaming charges!

Key learnings from the Ubigi study

July / August 2021 data

  • +246% of Ubigi eSIM data plans sold in July / August 2021, compared to last year, over the same period, confirming signs of recovery in international mobility
  • 73% of Americans’ mobile data usage has been outside of their country, making the United States one of the most mature markets for eSIM adoption and its benefits on the go.
  • 58% of the data consumed by the French was used in France, confirming that the French remained in their country this summer. France also remains the #1 Number One favorite tourist destination in Europe and in the world[2]
  • Thanks to the reopening of their borders earlier in spring 2021, Spain and Greece were able to secure the arrival of tourists from outside Europe, representing respectively the 2nd and 6th favorite destinations of the summer[3]
  • Switzerland has also welcomed many foreign travelers, making it the 4th favorite destination of the summer. Switzerland has probably benefited from a reassuring and safer image, in this context of the health crisis
  • After a relatively late opening for tourism, Italy went from the 8th destination in terms of data traffic volume in June to the 5th in August
  • The British have not traveled much (41% of the data consumed by the British was carried out in Great Britain). They also did not welcome many travelers, due to strict entry restrictions maintained until August 2021
  • Not many Japanese travelers. However, Ubigi notes a slight increase in traffic in Japan in July, linked to the Olympic Games (for example: French and British have taken Ubigi subscriptions for Japan)

About Ubigi

Ubigi is Transatel’s brand dedicated to consumers of mobile services in the Internet of Things. Ubigi offers its customers to stay “always connected” thanks to prepaid mobile data plans at almost local rates in more than 180 destinations around the world. The service is available on eSIM compatible smartphones, PCs, tablets as well as connected cars from partner manufacturers. To learn more about Ubigi, please visit: www.ubigi.com

About Transatel

Subsidiary of the NTT group – world leader in global technology services – Transatel is one of the main aggregators of virtual mobile telephony operators in Europe, with more than 200 MVNOs launched over the past 20 years, 80 of which are active today. A pioneer in machine-to-machine communication, Transatel also offers a global cellular connectivity solution dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) for the industrial and service sectors (automotive, aeronautics, logistics, energy, agriculture, health, commerce…). Transatel SIM and eSIM cards now connect millions of mobile devices, vehicles, robots and even airplanes around the world. To learn more about Transatel, please visit: https://www.transatel.com/.


[1] Percentage of Ubigi data consumption by Americans in the country.

[2] Source: OMT.

[3] According to Ubigi’s customers data consumption.

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