There was an article in last weekend’s Sunday Times suggesting that On The Market property portal was starting to disrupt the market leaders Rightmove and Zoopla. The article went on to quote figures stating that in 2015 for every £100 pounds spent by agents with Rightmove generated 27.9 leads, but in the first half of 2018 this figure had fallen by 35% to 18.1
We recently ran a quick poll across our social media channels asking where our followers would look to buy property and the results came back overwhelmingly they would use Rightmove.
This is hardly surprising as Rightmove is the oldest, busiest and most well established of all the property portals. And it would suggest that Rightmove is in a very secure position. But nothing is ever that clear cut. Whilst Rightmove have been been enjoying being market leaders the other portals have been gaining ground, diversifying their business models to build in other income streams, and adapting services to suit future users.
Rightmove hasn’t adapted al all (they haven’t needed to, they are the UK’s biggest property portal) This may have been a little short sighted, their income is based on the services they sell to agents and in order to grow and ultimately please the shareholders, they need to increase revenue from their customers (the estate agents).
This is where Rightmove is skating on thin ice, there is already growing unrest amongst agents and very little customer loyalty. Rightmove’s fees are already considerably higher than their competitors. In many cases the fees are equivalent to another member of staff or the rent on their business premises. Also, multi branch offices are charged fees for each branch, yet the online agents covering the same (or larger) areas are only charged once as they have a single office. Add to this, the larger corporate chains are able to negotiate large discounts due to the amount of branches they have, the smaller independent estate agencies, in particular, are becoming increasingly disgruntled.
So why do the agents continue to use them? The answer is simple, FEAR. They are afraid that viewing requests may reduce and in turn, potential new business. Though that isn’t the main fear, which is the reason why Rightmove are still quite complacent that their customers won’t leave them.
The main fear is how other agents in their area will view the break from Rightmove. Competing for new business can be fierce. Many vendors will get several agents out to value their home. Assuming the valuations are all similar it comes down to making a decision based on personal preference and where the agents market properties. Would vendors be put off using an agent that didn’t list on Rightmove when all the others do?
Since we set up Saxon Shore we have heard repeatedly from vendors that other agents can market their home better because we don’t have a shop window. The reality is that not having a shop window has had no effect what so ever. In fact, Saxon Shore ended up being the top selling agent in Faversham for 2018 without a shop front.
So could it be that some agents take a brave, bold step and ditch Rightmove? Well, some already have. There are others (Saxon Shore included) that only have sales on Rightmove and market lettings elsewhere, which has no effect on finding tenants.
We have also noticed in the last few months that the way people are using the portals is changing. Where once our email in box was full of leads from Rightmove , it’s now full of emails direct from our website, Zoopla and On The Market. Plus our social channels are always busy with potential customers.
Rightmove have neglected to think about how internet savvy users adapt. Rightmove haven’t adapted or diversified and are complacent that users will continue as they always have. Which seems odd when you think how Rightmove came along and revolutionised how we buy and sell property, it’s naive to think that nothing else may come along and change things again.
So what is the future for Rightmove? Perhaps it’s not as happy as it once was.
To discuss the points raised in this article further or to understand how we market properties so effectively, Please call 01795 533577 or email email@example.com