Has Mr Go Compare really had his day?March 6th, 2013 • 4 Comments
The string of highly amusing* recent TV ads showing various celebrities and award-winning physicists obliterating the Go Compare opera singer may actually have been ahead of the game. Things are not so rosy in the garden of price comparison, with poor results and dim prospects suggesting the bottom may have fallen out of this particular market.
The reason, according to the founder of Confused.com’s parent Admiral thinks the reason is market saturation. According to Henry Engelhardt, there just “aren’t that many new people left” who don’t already know about comparison sites. He also thinks that fewer people can even be bothered shopping around given that our existing insurers are getting wise to the fact and are offering lower-premium renewals to pre-empt a comparison switch.
If he’s right, this is good news for consumers- particularly lazy ones- who can be happier that they are getting a good price without having to work so hard for it. However, not everyone agrees. Martin Lewis’ pals Moneysupermarket.com have just reported poor results in their money products division (down 21% on the previous half-year), but rather than saturation, they have sweeteners down as the reason for the dip.
Moneysupermarket.com believe that the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme, which may or may not have been a complete failure on the lending front, has certainly succeeded in depressing savings rates even further than pitiful. With so little at stake, consumers just can’t be bothered to go compare.
But even in the ‘saturated’ UK, Confused.com reported an overall return to growth in 2012 and Moneysupermarket’s insurance stream profits are healthily up too. Is the UK really a bloated and lazy market full of apathetic comparison-free consumers?
Either way, the current market players are unlikely to be leaving the market, they just might not push so hard to attract new users. This might end up being good news for consumers, as fighting over the existing comparison-takers might drive better deals and partnerships between providers and comparison sites. Just so long as you remember to check any cashback benefits too. And if the non-price-checkers get left behind? Surely there is no one left in the country who hasn’t seen one brand of annoying advert, so they probably really aren’t interested.
All the more benefit for those who do then.
It’s like everything else – companies always want to cash in on something good. The latest example is the Check-a-Trade equivalents. They all spring up, then the consumer doesn’t know which one to use, which then defeats the whole point of having one in the first place. Are people expected to check every trade rating site? Are tradesmen expected to pester customers to fill out valuations on multiple sites? Nobody would bother.
If I never see that fat annoying cunt* ever again, it will be too soon.
* Mr Go Compare, not anyone else mentioned in the article. Martin Lewis is not by any stretch of the imagination fat.
To be honest, I usually use the comparison websites then go directly to the ones that will insure me via topcashback
That way, I know not to bother with some of the miserable barstewards that seem to think I live in Syria*
For instance, with house insurance, I can actually pick the things I want rather than what the comparison website thinks I need.
*I actually live in a pretty village in the home counties
Hey Sam / BitterWallet team. As one of the smaller comparison sites, we certainly hope Mr Go Compare dies in a ditch somewhere. We wrote last year about the joke starting to wear very thin indeed (http://blog.which4u.co.uk/creditcards/turning-the-joke-upon-yourself) – though perhaps it’s very wishful thinking to believe that hatred of GoCompare, Feel Epic or whoever might bring more trade to the smaller, less annoying fish like ourselves.
I think there’s been a noticeable fall in apathy in the past year, though I still think there’s a reluctance to change – partly because banks have been notoriously difficult in helping customers move on. When it comes to insurance, we tend to know that there are smaller providers, affiliates, and subsidiaries offering cheap policies.
But yes, price comparison is big business now – perhaps embarrassingly big – and I don’t think it’s particularly clean or competitive. Hopefully, that’s an exposure project for this year.
We’re big fans of BitterWallet here. Keep up the great work!