OnTheMarket CEO says: It’s time for agents to change their thinking about portals
OnTheMarket CEO Ian Springett today told the Relocation Agent Network Conference that 2019 had seen significant shifts within the portals market. However, to counter ever-increasing portal fees, new thinking is required across the industry.
Mr Springett told the conference hall that OnTheMarket’s H1 figures for 2019 showed the portal provided 28 leads for every £100 of monthly fees. In stark contrast, Rightmove generated 16 leads for every £100 of fees across the equivalent time period*.
OnTheMarket is now sending over 100 million instant property alerts per month to almost 1.2million people. Rightmove sent 781million alerts to over two million people across 2018.**
He said: “According to its own figures, Rightmove lost around 800 branches between June 2018 and June 2019**. OnTheMarket has continued to gain offices, with over 12,600 reported as at 30 September 2019. Furthermore, independent data from Home.co.uk indicates that in October 2019, compared with October 2018, the number of agent offices listing either exclusively at OnTheMarket or with OnTheMarket and only one other major portal had increased by 731 to 5,543.
“Agents are the providers of both the core content and the revenue on which portals depend, so agents can shift pricing power away from Rightmove and Zoopla by supporting the agent-backed portal. OnTheMarket is 70% owned by more than 3,000 independent agents operating over 6,000 offices and new agents committing to long term listing agreements can receive shares alongside. OnTheMarket aims to continue expanding its agent ownership group.”
“It’s clear that serious property-seekers find the properties, wherever they are listed. Many agents have told us that leaving Rightmove has made absolutely no difference to their business. Some have even said that their working day has become easier because they are no longer chasing unproductive leads.
In the period from 2011 to 2018, Rightmove’s fees more than doubled, rising by 125%. This represents a compound annual growth of 12.4%. We have heard that some agents are facing a 30% increase in Rightmove fees this year.
Mr Springett added that the annual ritual of agents complaining about Rightmove’s pricing and attitude and then complying would change nothing. He questioned how long it was viable for agents to meet Rightmove’s demands and to continue supporting its 75%+ profit margins.
“The core ethos of OnTheMaket is to understand and support the role of the agent. That is why we froze our prices next year for our customers on full tariff contracts. Given the challenges facing agents right now and the uncertain outlook for 2020, we believe this is the right thing to do to support all those firms who have loyally backed us as we have developed and grown your portal. We have seen before that the best agents come out of such periods stronger and we want to help you do just that.”
To ensure that OnTheMarket continues its momentum to gain ground against Rightmove, Mr Springett suggested that agents listed their properties with no more than one other portal and released them to OnTheMarket 48 hours ahead of releasing them elsewhere. “Commit your support to OnTheMarket and keep the other two on a short leash so you can play them off against each other”, he said.
* Based on an ARPA for Rightmove of £1,077 and an ARPA of £331 for OnTheMarket.
** Rightmove data taken from their published regulatory statements and analyst communications. Approximations are used where appropriate.