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Web Aggregators in Financial Services - UK - June 2013

“Price comparison sites still need to convince consumers that they can offer the best possible deal. Many consumers begin the purchasing journey using price comparison sites but end up dropping out before the process is complete. Many of these people choose to drop out in order to check if they can get a better deal by going directly. Price comparison sites should consider offering customers a price promise guarantee in order to tackle the perceptions that customers can get a cheaper deal elsewhere.”

– Stevan Obradovic, Financial Services Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Why do customers drop out from the price comparison process?
  • What can price comparison websites do to stop people dropping out?
  • Do consumers use different price comparison sites for different financial products?
  • Can Google capitalise on its brand and search engine dominance?

Price comparison websites have become an integral part of the purchasing journey in some financial markets. In the car insurance sector, aggregators have been extremely successful in quickly obtaining market share and capitalising on price sensitive consumers during times of steep premium inflation. Given that price comparison websites are designed to save visitors money, consumer attitudes towards aggregators are generally positive.

Although the top five websites dominate this market, there is very little loyalty among consumers and price comparison users are very much driven by price. Advertising expenditure and website usage are strongly interlinked in this market, indicating that brands have to use media initiatives to remain current. Overall, price comparison website users are more likely to choose a website either through searching online or picking one off the top of their head rather than actually having a favourite aggregator.

This report examines the web aggregator market, with a particular focus on financial products and services. Mintel’s exclusively commissioned consumer research is used to show the usage of different sites, while also looking at the most commonly researched products and research/purchase conversion rates. The aggregator selection process and dropout rates are also examined. This report concludes with consumer concerns about and attitudes towards price comparison websites. 

Throughout the report the terms aggregators and price-comparison sites are used to refer to the breed of website that connects consumers to financial services providers by allowing them to make comparisons between different products and providers. These terms are interchangeable and there are no technical differences between the two.


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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Abbreviations and definitions
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Around 70% of internet users have used a price comparison website
              • Figure 1: Products researched/purchased through aggregator sites, April 2013
            • Market factors
              • Online activity
                • Companies, brands and innovations
                  • Comparethemarket.com is the most widely used aggregator in the last year
                    • Figure 2: Aggregator sites used in the last 12 months, April 2013
                  • Small levels of brand differentiation between the traditional aggregators
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes towards and usage of brands in the web aggregators sector, March 2013
                  • The consumer
                    • Price comparison website usage by product
                      • Price comparison selection process
                        • Figure 4: Aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                      • Process completion
                        • Figure 5: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, April 2013
                      • Reasons for dropping out of the quotation process
                        • Figure 6: Reasons for not completing a quote, April 2013
                      • Reasons for dropping out of the purchasing process
                        • Figure 7: Reasons for not completing a purchase, April 2013
                      • Price comparison website concerns
                        • Figure 8: Price comparison website concerns, April 2013
                      • Attitudes towards price comparison websites
                        • What we think
                        • Issues in the Market

                            • Why do customers drop out from the price comparison process?
                              • What can price comparison websites do to stop people dropping out?
                                • Do consumers use different price comparison sites for different financial products?
                                  • Can Google capitalise on its brand and search engine dominance?
                                  • Trend Application

                                    • Price matching to compete with direct channels
                                      • Reassuring customers regarding data usage
                                        • Mintel futures: Human
                                        • Online Trends

                                          • Key points
                                            • Three quarters of over-16s now have access to the internet
                                              • Figure 9: Internet users, Q1 2011-Q1 2013
                                            • Smartphone usage continues to grow
                                              • Figure 10: Personal ownership of mobile phones, January 2012-April 2013
                                            • A fifth of adults manage their finances on smartphones
                                              • Figure 11: Information-finding activities performed online in the past three months, by device, April 2013
                                            • The majority of adults have shopped online
                                              • Figure 12: Online shopping activities performed in the past three months, by device, April 2013
                                          • Companies and Products

                                            • Comparethemarket.com
                                                • Figure 13: Key financial data for BISL Ltd*, 2011-12
                                              • Confused.com
                                                  • Figure 14: Key financial data for Confused.com, 2011-12
                                                  • Figure 15: Key financial data for Admiral’s price comparison websites*, 2010-12
                                                • Gocompare.com
                                                    • Figure 16: Key financial data for Gocompare.com Limited, 2010-11
                                                  • Moneysupermarket.com
                                                      • Figure 17: Key financial data for Moneysupermarket.com, 2011-12
                                                    • Tesco Compare
                                                        • Figure 18: Key financial data for Tesco Compare, 2011-12
                                                      • uSwitch
                                                          • Figure 19: Key financial data for uSwitch, 2010-11
                                                        • Others
                                                          • lovemoney.com
                                                            • money.co.uk
                                                              • MoneyExpert.com
                                                                  • Figure 20: key financial data for MoneyExpert.com, 2010-11
                                                                • TotallyMoney.com
                                                                • Brand Research

                                                                  • Brand map
                                                                      • Figure 21: Attitudes towards and usage of brands in the web aggregators sector, March 2013
                                                                    • Correspondence analysis
                                                                      • Brand attitudes
                                                                        • Figure 22: Attitudes by web aggregators brand, March 2013
                                                                      • Brand personality
                                                                        • Figure 23: Web aggregators brand personality – macro image, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 24: Web aggregators brand personality – micro image, March 2013
                                                                      • Brand experience
                                                                        • Figure 25: Web aggregators brand usage, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 26: Satisfaction with various web aggregators brands, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 27: Consideration of web aggregators brands, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 28: Consumer perceptions of current web aggregators brand performance, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 29: Web aggregators brand recommendation – Net Promoter Score, March 2013
                                                                      • Brand index
                                                                        • Figure 30: Web aggregators brand index, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 31: Web aggregators brand index vs. recommendation, March 2013
                                                                      • Target group analysis
                                                                        • Figure 32: Target groups, March 2013
                                                                        • Figure 33: Web aggregators brand usage, by target groups, March 2013
                                                                      • Group One – Conformists
                                                                        • Group Two – Simply the Best
                                                                          • Group Three – Shelf Stalkers
                                                                            • Group Four – Habitual Shoppers
                                                                              • Group Five – Individualists
                                                                              • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Aggregators’ adspend increased in 2012/13
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Overview of advertising expenditure in the financial aggregator market, 2011-13*
                                                                                  • Comparethemarket.com is the number one in terms of adspend
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Advertising expenditure by selected financial aggregators, 2011-13
                                                                                  • TV advertising is heavily influential in the price comparison market
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Financial aggregator adspend, by media type, 2011-13*
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Financial aggregator adspend among selected sites, by media type, 2013*
                                                                                  • A note about adspend
                                                                                  • Researching and Purchasing Activity by Product

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • One in two adults compares car insurance through aggregators
                                                                                        • Figure 38: Products researched/purchased through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                      • The majority of young drivers research car insurance on PCWs
                                                                                        • Figure 39: Car insurance research through price comparison websites, by age, April 2013
                                                                                      • Telematics a challenge and opportunity for aggregator websites
                                                                                        • Almost 50% research up to 4 products, while a third research none
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Repertoire of products researched through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Repertoire of products researched through aggregator sites, by gross annual household income, April 2013
                                                                                        • Purchasing levels are even lower, with one in two not buying through PCWs
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Repertoire of products purchased through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Products purchased through aggregator sites, by repertoire of products purchased through aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                      • Price Comparison Website Usage by Provider

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Top five websites used widely in the last 12 months
                                                                                            • Figure 44: Aggregator sites used, April 2013
                                                                                          • Around 50% of price comparison website visitors have used 3-6 websites
                                                                                            • Figure 45: Repertoire of aggregator sites used, April 2013
                                                                                          • Users of 1-2 price comparison websites turn to the main players
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Aggregator sites used, by repertoire of aggregator sites used, April 2013
                                                                                          • Loyalty in a market that is designed for switching
                                                                                            • Google can benefit from its search engine dominance
                                                                                              • Figure 47: Aggregator sites used, by aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                                                                                          • Price Comparison Website Usage by Product

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Website usage is influenced by products being researched
                                                                                                • Figure 48: Price comparison website usage – by product, April 2013
                                                                                              • Two sites have carved out a more savings and investment-focused image
                                                                                              • Price Comparison Selection Process

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Consumers have different ways of choosing price comparison websites
                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                                                                                                  • Advertising initiatives are important in winning mindshare
                                                                                                    • Young adults more likely to search for a price comparison website
                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Aggregator site selection process, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                    • The selection process is influenced by the products being researched
                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Aggregator site selection process, by products researched/purchased through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                                    • Website usage has little influence on the selection process
                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Aggregator site selection process, by the top five most used aggregator websites, April 2013
                                                                                                  • Process Completion

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Two thirds of adults drop out before purchasing from a PCW
                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, April 2013
                                                                                                      • Dropout rates increase among those doing numerous product searches
                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, by repertoire of products researched through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                                      • Dropout rates are not better even among those that have a favourite website…
                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, by aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                                                                                                      • …although single site users have better conversion rates
                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, by repertoire of aggregators sites used, April 2013
                                                                                                      • Dropout rates are fairly equal among most providers
                                                                                                      • Reasons for Dropping Out of the Quotation Process

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Length of process and personal questions are major gripes
                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Reasons for not completing a quote, April 2013
                                                                                                          • Even adults with a favourite website find the process too long
                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Reasons for not completing a quote, by aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                                                                                                          • Adults who cite personal questions are more likely to worry about marketing calls
                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Price comparison website concerns, by reasons for not completing a quote, April 2013
                                                                                                        • Reasons for Dropping Out of the Purchasing Process

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Direct competition means that many adults do not purchase at the end of a quotation process
                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Reasons for not completing a purchase, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Price comparison websites need to reassure customers on price
                                                                                                              • Adults purchasing banking products more likely to drop out to check policy details
                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Reasons for not completing a purchase, by products researched through aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Consumer Concerns about Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Consumers have a range of concerns when using PCWs, but a third have none
                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Price comparison website concerns, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Older customers more worried about whole of market limitations, and marketing calls
                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Price comparison website concerns, by age, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Aggregator sites are mainly viewed the same when it comes to concerns
                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Price comparison website concerns, by aggregators sites used, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Adults who have dropped out of the process more likely to have concerns
                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Price comparison website concerns, by price comparison usage and dropout rates, April 2013
                                                                                                              • Attitudes Towards Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Convenience and saving money are the two main benefits
                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Having a favourite website makes customers see website differentiation
                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, by aggregator site selection process, April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Dropouts more likely to view PCWs as a research tool
                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, by price comparison usage and dropout rates, April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Cashback offers can be used to replicate rewards for loyalty
                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, by agreement with ‘price comparison websites do not reward loyalty’, April 2013
                                                                                                                  • Those who go to check other websites do so for a number of reasons
                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, by reasons for not completing a purchase, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Brand Research

                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Brand usage, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 72: Brand commitment, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 73: Brand momentum, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Brand diversity, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 75: Brand satisfaction, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Brand recommendation, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Brand attitude, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 78: Brand image – macro image, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 79: Brand image – micro image, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Profile of target groups, by demographics, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 81: Psychographic segmentation by target groups, March 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 82: Brand usage, by target groups, March 2013
                                                                                                                  • Brand index
                                                                                                                    • Figure 83: Brand index, March 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Researching and Purchasing Activity by Product

                                                                                                                    • Figure 84: Most commonly researched products on a price comparison website, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 85: Less commonly researched products on a price comparison website, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 86: Infrequently researched products on a price comparison website, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 87: Most commonly purchased products via a price comparison website, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 88: Less commonly purchased products via a price comparison website, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Price Comparison Website Usage by Provider

                                                                                                                    • Figure 89: Usage of Comparethemarket.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 90: Usage of Confused.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 91: Usage of MoneySavingExpert.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 92: Usage of Moneysupermarket.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 93: Usage of Gocompare.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 94: Usage of uSwitch.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 95: Usage of MoneyExpert.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 96: Usage of Tescocompare.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 97: Usage of Google’s comparison service, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 98: Usage of Moneyfacts.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 99: Usage of Lovemoney.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 100: Usage of Money Advice Service, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 101: Usage of Money.co.uk, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 102: Usage of TotallyMoney.com, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 103: Usage of other aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Price Comparison Selection Process

                                                                                                                    • Figure 104: Aggregator site selection process, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Process Completion

                                                                                                                    • Figure 105: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 106: Price comparison usage and dropout rates, by top five aggregator sites used, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Reasons for Dropping Out of the Quotation Process

                                                                                                                    • Figure 107: Reasons for not completing a quote, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 108: Reasons for not completing a quote, by most widely used aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 109: Reasons for not completing a quote, by less frequently used aggregator sites, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Reasons for Dropping Out of the Purchasing Process

                                                                                                                    • Figure 110: Reasons for not completing a purchase, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Consumer Concerns about Price Comparison Website

                                                                                                                    • Figure 111: Main price comparison website concerns, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 112: Less important price comparison website concerns, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Price Comparison Websites

                                                                                                                    • Figure 113: Attitudes towards price comparison websites, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                                    • Figure 114: Attitudes towards price comparison websites continued, by demographics, April 2013

                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                • Admiral Insurance
                                                                                                                • BGL Group
                                                                                                                • Churchill Insurance
                                                                                                                • ComparetheMarket.com
                                                                                                                • Confused.com
                                                                                                                • Defaqto
                                                                                                                • Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd
                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                • Forward Internet Group
                                                                                                                • GoCompare
                                                                                                                • Lloyds Banking Group
                                                                                                                • London & Country Mortgages
                                                                                                                • London Stock Exchange plc
                                                                                                                • MoneyExpert Ltd
                                                                                                                • Moneysavingexpert
                                                                                                                • MoneySupermarket.com Limited
                                                                                                                • Nationwide Building Society
                                                                                                                • Nectar
                                                                                                                • Privilege Insurance
                                                                                                                • Tesco Personal Finance Limited
                                                                                                                • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                Web Aggregators in Financial Services - UK - June 2013

                                                                                                                £2,195.00 (Excl.Tax)