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Property portal progress update

Posted on 2015-06-25

Over the past fifteen years property portals have become a very important part of letting agents’ marketing package as prospective tenants increasingly start their property search online.

Of course, portals are just one part of a letting agent’s marketing strategy but most landlords will now want to know which ones their property will be advertised on.

The last 18 months have seen things hot up in the portal world as Rightmove and Zoopla have continued to report record profits and growth, while Agents’ Mutual’s challenger portal OnTheMarket.com launched earlier this year.

Since the early 2000s Rightmove has been building a fearsome reputation as the go-to site for UK property searchers.

Towards the end of the last decade, Zoopla - fronted by entrepreneur of Love Film-fame, Alex Chesterman - emerged to challenge Rightmove’s dominance.

Zoopla’s position as the UK’s second property website was fortified after its owners brokered several successful mergers and acquisitions between 2009 and 2012 and Zoopla Property Group, owned by Daily Mail and General Trust, subsequently floated on the stock market this time last year.

In response to Rightmove and Zoopla’s dominance of the market, a group of estate agents teamed up to launch Agents’ Mutual to challenge the big two. After two years of fundraising and signing up member firms, the organisation launched its own portal, OnTheMarket (OTM), in January 2015.

Now that the new site has been live for almost six months and Zoopla and Rightmove have published their half year trading statements, we thought now the perfect time to take look at some of the latest fact and figures to gain a perspective of the current portal market and how it affects the UK’s letting agents…

Rightmove:

Just this month Rightmove published figures which show it experienced its busiest ever May in 2015 with 115 million visits. A figure which, the portal points out, is equivalent to every adult in the UK visiting the site twice in the month.

The portal also reported that it experienced the busiest ever single day for visits on Tuesday May 19. On top of this, Rightmove has also claimed its busiest ever March and January this year.

At the turn of the year, the site’s page views surpassed 1.5 billion for the first time ever, meaning home hunters are getting through over 1,000 pages every two seconds.

Zoopla:

In its half-year trading statement, Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) reported that the number of visits to both Zoopla and PrimeLocation increased from 240 million in the first few months of 2014 to 265 million during the same period this year.

Zoopla CEO, Alex Chesterman, also revealed that during the first half of 2015 his site secured over 44 million monthly visits, with mobile devices accounting for over 60% of traffic.

Also, in April, ZPG announced the £160m acquisition of price comparison website uSwitch and has confirmed that it is looking to make further acquisitions in the coming months.

OnTheMarket:

In early May, OnTheMarket reported that it had achieved 10 million visits and 90 million page views in the first three months since its launch.

In April the portal says it received 3.5m visits with an average of 9.31 pages viewed and an average of 6.5 minutes spent on the site by each user. It also published in March that in its first six weeks it attracted over two million unique users.

The challenger portal also says its TV advert has been aired more than 5,000 times and watched by 44.8 million people.

Direct comparison

We have picked four random locations in the UK to compare the number of rental properties on each of the three sites. Here are the results:

Bedford, Bedfordshire

Rightmove: 243
Zoopla: 94
OnTheMarket: 38

Market Harborough, Leicestershire

Rightmove: 54
Zoopla: 3
OnTheMarket: 7

East Grinstead, West Sussex

Rightmove: 49
Zoopla: 56
OnTheMarket: 3

Taunton, Somerset

Rightmove: 190
Zoopla: 42
OnTheMarket: 90

*All data accurate as of 17/06/2015

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