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Price Comparison Sites in General Insurance - UK - July 2016

“The price comparison website industry is in a very healthy position in terms of current use and future opportunities. Future development should continue to focus on increasing the level of convenience provided by sites. Having access to wide-ranging market information has strengthened the consumers’ hand when looking for insurance products, but use is based on the service being efficient and convenient.”
– Rich Shepherd, Senior Financial Services Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Non-financial incentives have the biggest appeal, but choice would be even better
  • PCWs must take care to only contact customers when appropriate
  • Confidence in decision making is high, but PCWs need to promote all information evenly

This Report examines price comparison websites and their use in the UK general insurance sector. This includes discussion of the main factors driving the market, and a look at the main players in the market. Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at how people use PCWs: which products they research and purchase through aggregators, their favoured devices for accessing comparison sites, and how they approach the purchase process. Attitudes towards PCWs in general, incentives to use sites, and contact from aggregators are also examined. Mintel’s brand research looks at what consumers think about individual PCW brands.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

        • The market
          • PCWs use is so great that concerns have been raised over growth
            • Companies and brands
              • Comparethemarket.com is the most widely used comparison site…
                • Figure 1: Price comparison website usage market share, 2016
              • …and the biggest spending advertiser in the sector
                • Figure 2: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites, 2011/12-2015/16*
              • The consumer
                • Motor insurance is the most searched-for policy on PCWs
                  • Figure 3: Insurance products researched on price comparison websites, May 2016
                  • Figure 4: Insurance products purchased/arranged through a price comparison website, May 2016
                • Laptops and desktops are the favoured devices for using PCWs
                  • Figure 5: Devices PCW users would feel comfortable using to take various actions, May 2016
                • Half of PCW users research and buy on the same site
                  • Figure 6: Intended use of price comparison websites, May 2016
                • Meerkat Movies is top of the incentives
                  • Figure 7: Appeal of incentives of price comparison websites, May 2016
                • Consumers are split on receiving contact from comparison sites
                  • Figure 8: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, May 2016
                • People prefer a choice of rewards, while some worry about level of cover
                  • Figure 9: Attitudes towards price comparison sites, May 2016
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Non-financial incentives have the biggest appeal, but choice would be even better
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • PCWs must take care to only contact customers when appropriate
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Confidence in decision making is high, but PCWs need to promote all information evenly
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Aggregators are the first stop in shopping for insurance
                                      • PCWs offer support for consumers through Brexit uncertainty
                                        • Potential for smaller, niche comparison sites
                                        • Market Drivers

                                          • Two thirds have researched insurance on a PCW in the last year…
                                            • …but concerns have been raised over growth
                                              • Brexit will bring uncertainty, but PCWs could help
                                                • Markerstudy’s Go Get site to offer aggregator service to Pet Insurance
                                                  • Trend for greater competition could see growth in non-insurance aggregator use
                                                    • Opportunities for more personalised services on the horizon
                                                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Comparethemarket.com is the most widely used comparison site…
                                                        • …but most PCW users visit more than one site
                                                          • The big four continue to base marketing activity on major characters
                                                            • Adspend among PCWs remained high in 2015/16…
                                                              • …while Comparethemarket.com was the biggest single advertiser
                                                              • Market Share

                                                                • Half of PCW users visited Comparethemarket.com in the last year…
                                                                  • Figure 10: Price comparison website usage market share, 2016
                                                                • …but the majority use a few different sites
                                                                  • Comparethemarket.com leads among single-site users
                                                                    • Figure 11: Repertoire of price comparison websites used to research or purchase/arrange an insurance product, May 2016
                                                                  • Experience, as well as awareness, is key
                                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                                    • Comparethemarket.com
                                                                      • Commercial information
                                                                        • Recent activity
                                                                          • MoneySuperMarket.com
                                                                            • Commercial information
                                                                              • Recent activity
                                                                                • Confused.com
                                                                                  • Commercial information
                                                                                    • Recent activity
                                                                                      • GoCompare.com
                                                                                        • Commercial information
                                                                                          • Recent activity
                                                                                            • Google
                                                                                            • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                              • PCWs maintain heavy spend on advertising
                                                                                                • Figure 12: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites, 2011/12-2015/16*
                                                                                              • Comparethemarket.com is the biggest spending financial aggregator
                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by selected financial aggregators, 2014-16*
                                                                                                • Television dominates comparison adspend
                                                                                                  • Figure 14: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites, by media type, 2012-16*
                                                                                                • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                • Brand Research

                                                                                                    • What you need to know
                                                                                                      • Brand map
                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Attitudes towards and usage of selected price comparison website brands, May 2016
                                                                                                      • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                        • Figure 16: Key metrics for selected price comparison website brands, May 2016
                                                                                                      • Brand attitudes: PCWs exhibit fairness, trust and good customer service
                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Attitudes, by price comparison website brand, May 2016
                                                                                                      • Brand personality: The top advertisers are considered most engaging
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Brand personality – Macro image, May 2016
                                                                                                      • MoneySuperMarket.com is most reliable, while Comparethemarket.com is more progressive
                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Brand personality – Micro image, May 2016
                                                                                                      • Brand analysis
                                                                                                        • Comparethemarket.com is the most trusted and different brand
                                                                                                          • Figure 20: User profile of Comparethemarket.com, May 2016
                                                                                                        • MoneySuperMarket.com is seen as a reliable and engaging brand
                                                                                                          • Figure 21: User profile of MoneySuperMarket.com, May 2016
                                                                                                        • Uswitch.com isn’t seen to offer anything different, but is highly recommended
                                                                                                          • Figure 22: User profile of Uswitch.com, May 2016
                                                                                                        • Confused.com is accessible and fair, but is low on differentiation
                                                                                                          • Figure 23: User profile of Confused.com, May 2016
                                                                                                        • GoCompare.com embodies the average comparison site
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: User profile of GoCompare.com, May 2016
                                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                        • Motor insurance is the most searched-for policy on PCWs
                                                                                                          • Laptops and desktops are the favoured devices for using PCWs
                                                                                                            • Half of PCW users research and buy on the same site
                                                                                                              • Incentives not linked to financial services are most appealing
                                                                                                                • Consumers are split on receiving contact from comparison sites
                                                                                                                  • People prefer a choice of rewards, while some worry about level of cover
                                                                                                                  • Insurance Product Research and Purchase Activity

                                                                                                                      • Two fifths researched motor insurance on a PCW
                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Insurance products researched on price comparison websites, May 2016
                                                                                                                        • Most PCW researchers went on to make a purchase on the site
                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Insurance products purchased/arranged through a price comparison website, May 2016
                                                                                                                        • Consumers are most likely to complete purchases for easily-understood products
                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Conversion ratio, by insurance product, May 2016
                                                                                                                          • One in seven researched four or more products
                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Repertoire of insurance products researched and purchased on price comparison websites, May 2016
                                                                                                                        • Preferred Devices for Researching and Purchasing Through Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                                          • Consumers are much more likely to research and buy on computers than mobile devices…
                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Devices PCW users would feel comfortable using to take various actions, May 2016
                                                                                                                          • …but young consumers are bucking this trend
                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Devices PCW users would feel comfortable using to research products on a price comparison website, by age, May 2016
                                                                                                                          • Use of apps is limited in new business
                                                                                                                            • 17% don’t feel comfortable contacting a PCW digitally
                                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Devices PCW users would feel comfortable using to take various actions, May 2016
                                                                                                                          • Intended Use of Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                                            • Half of PCW users intended to complete a purchase on the site
                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Intended use of price comparison websites, May 2016
                                                                                                                              • Mobile device users are most likely to intend to buy
                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Intended use of price comparison websites, by devices consumers would feel comfortable using to research products on a price comparison website, May 2016
                                                                                                                            • Price Comparison Website Incentives

                                                                                                                              • Meerkat Movies is top of the incentives
                                                                                                                                • Engaging people with non-financial incentives
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Appeal of incentives of price comparison websites, May 2016
                                                                                                                                • Cross-selling is a tough ask
                                                                                                                                  • But ultimately the usefulness of PCWs is incentive in itself
                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes towards Price Comparison Website Contact

                                                                                                                                    • Consumers are split on allowing PCWs to contact them…
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, May 2016
                                                                                                                                      • …but some groups are more receptive than others
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Agreement with the statement “I would be happy to be contacted about other financial products offered by price comparison sites”, by age, May 2016
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Attitudes towards price comparison sites – CHAID – Tree output, May 2016
                                                                                                                                      • PCWs are moving beyond being seen as the speedy option
                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                                                        • Choice is the incentive that people really want
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Attitudes towards price comparison sites, May 2016
                                                                                                                                          • Some still doubt decisions made solely on PCWs…
                                                                                                                                            • …and a significant minority prefer brands not on PCWs
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – CHAID Analysis

                                                                                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Attitudes to price comparison sites – CHAID – Tree output, May 2015
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes to price comparison sites – CHAID – Table output, May 2015

                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                Price Comparison Sites in General Insurance - UK - July 2016

                                                                                                                                                £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)