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UK Price Comparison Sites in General Insurance market report

"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
      • Scope of this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Lack of loyalty towards insurance providers leads consumers to PCWs…
              • …but other financial markets see far less movement
                • Figure 1: Switching activity of financial services product holders, December 2015, September 2016 (home insurance) and November 2016 (car insurance)
              • Companies and brands
                • The big four dominate the PCW market
                  • Figure 2: Price comparison website usage in the last 12 months, July 2017
                • Leading players struggle to establish a point of difference
                  • Figure 3: Attitudes, by price comparison website brand, July 2017
                • The consumer
                  • Car and home insurance the most searched for…
                    • …whilst few turn to PCWs to compare other financial products
                      • Figure 4: Financial products researched through a price comparison website, July 2017
                    • Consumers favour familiarity
                      • Figure 5: Factors that influence consumers’ choice of price comparison websites, July 2017
                    • Customer service could become a key comparison metric
                      • Figure 6: Information that consumers would like to appear within a price comparison search, July 2017
                    • Nearly three in four users compare comparison sites
                      • Figure 7: Price comparison behaviours, July 2017
                    • Interest in pro-active price comparison tools
                      • Figure 8: Interest in features/services that could be offered by price comparison websites, July 2017
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                      • PCWs could evolve in to PFMs
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Breaking out of insurance
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Lack of loyalty towards insurance providers leads consumers to PCWs…
                                    • …but other financial markets see far less movement
                                      • Open Banking offers promise for PCWs….
                                        • ….and presents new challenges
                                          • CMA investigation rules in favour of PCWs
                                          • Market Environment

                                            • Lack of loyalty towards insurance providers leads consumers to PCWs…
                                              • …but other financial markets see far less movement
                                                • Figure 9: Switching activity of financial services product holders, December 2015, September 2016 (home insurance) and November 2016 (car insurance)
                                              • New regulations aim to improve competition in retail banking
                                                • Figure 10: Open Banking incentives, June 2017
                                              • Open Banking offers promise for PCWs….
                                                • ….and presents new challenges
                                                  • CMA investigation rules in favour of PCWs
                                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                    • The big four dominate the PCW market
                                                      • Comparethemarket rewards loyalty
                                                        • Confused goes big with TV campaign
                                                          • MoneySuperMarket looks to boost loyalty
                                                            • Zoopla acquires Money.co.uk
                                                              • Leading players struggle to obtain a point of difference
                                                              • Market Share

                                                                • The big four dominate the PCW market
                                                                  • Figure 11: Price comparison website usage in the last 12 months, July 2017
                                                                • Over half of PCW users use multiple sites
                                                                    • Figure 12: Repertoire of price comparison websites used in the last 12 months, July 2017
                                                                  • Loyalty scheme allows CTM to stand out
                                                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                                                    • Comparethemarket (BGL Group)
                                                                      • Financial performance
                                                                        • Recent activity and strategic developments
                                                                          • Loyalty incentives
                                                                            • Confused.com (Admiral Group)
                                                                              • Financial performance
                                                                                • Recent activity and strategic developments
                                                                                  • GoCompare.com Group
                                                                                    • Financial performance
                                                                                      • Recent activity and strategic developments
                                                                                        • MoneySuperMarket Group
                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                            • Recent activity and strategic developments
                                                                                              • Zoopla Property Group (ZPG)
                                                                                              • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                • PCWs invest in ATL campaigns to remain ‘front of mind’
                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites on financial services, 2012/13-2016/17*
                                                                                                  • Confused.com tripled its adspend in 2016/17
                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites on financial services, by advertiser, 2014/15-2016/17*
                                                                                                  • TV accounts for two thirds of total expenditure
                                                                                                    • Figure 15: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by price comparison sites on financial services, by media type, 2016/17*
                                                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                  • Brand Research

                                                                                                      • What you need to know
                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                          • Figure 16: Attitudes towards and usage of selected price comparison website brands, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Key metrics for selected brands, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Brand attitudes: Comparethemarket stands out from the crowd
                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Attitudes, by price comparison website brand, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Brand personality: Fun advertising boosts image of PCWs
                                                                                                          • Figure 19: Brand personality – Macro image, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Leading PCWs seen as helpful and reliable
                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Brand personality – Micro image, July 2017
                                                                                                        • Brand analysis
                                                                                                          • Comparethemarket.com buoyed by meerkat promotions
                                                                                                            • Figure 21: User profile of Comparethemarket.com, July 2017
                                                                                                          • MoneySuperMarket.com is highly trusted
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: User profile of MoneySuperMarket.com, July 2017
                                                                                                          • GoCompare.com viewed positively but lacks a point of difference
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: User profile of GoCompare.com, July 2017
                                                                                                          • uSwitch.com sees usage levels lag behind the big four
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: User profile of uSwitch.com, July 2017
                                                                                                          • Confused.com seen as less fun and vibrant than its main rivals
                                                                                                            • Figure 25: User profile of Confused.com, July 2017
                                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                          • Car and home insurance the most searched for…
                                                                                                            • …whilst few turn to PCWs to compare other financial products
                                                                                                              • Insurance leads the way on the conversion front
                                                                                                                • Customer service could become a key comparison metric
                                                                                                                  • Nearly three in four users compare comparison sites
                                                                                                                    • Interest in pro-active price comparison tools
                                                                                                                    • Product Research and Purchase Activity

                                                                                                                      • Car and home insurance the most searched for…
                                                                                                                        • …whilst few turn to PCWs to compare other financial products
                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Financial products researched through a price comparison website, July 2017
                                                                                                                        • Nearly two fifths of PCW users have arranged car insurance
                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Financial products purchased/arranged through a price comparison website, July 2017
                                                                                                                        • Insurance leads the way on the conversion front
                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Conversion ratios, by financial services product, July 2017
                                                                                                                          • One in five researched four or more products
                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Repertoire of financial products researched or purchased/arranged through a price comparison website, July 2017
                                                                                                                          • MSE’s editorial expertise encourages people to switch a broader range of products
                                                                                                                          • Factors That Influence Choice of PCWs

                                                                                                                            • Consumers favour familiarity
                                                                                                                              • More reason for loyalty schemes?
                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Factors that influence consumers’ choice of price comparison websites, July 2017
                                                                                                                              • A quarter of 18-24s are influenced by search engine results
                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Factors that influence consumers’ choice of price comparison websites, by age group, July 2017
                                                                                                                            • Interest in Additional Search Filters

                                                                                                                              • Customer service could become a key comparison metric
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Information that consumers would like to appear within a price comparison search, July 2017
                                                                                                                                • Young people want to compare providers’ digital services
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Interest in seeing range of online/mobile services within a price comparison search, by age group, July 2017
                                                                                                                              • Price Comparison Behaviours

                                                                                                                                • Nearly three in four users compare comparison sites
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Price comparison behaviours, July 2017
                                                                                                                                • Millennials are the mobile generation
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Proportion of consumers who say they have used a smartphone to access price comparison sites, by generation, July 2017
                                                                                                                                • Interest in Price Comparison Features

                                                                                                                                  • Interest in pro-active price comparison tools
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Interest in features/services that could be offered by price comparison websites, July 2017
                                                                                                                                    • PCWs could evolve into PFMs
                                                                                                                                      • Data security is paramount
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

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