They are a relatively new phenomenon, yet new research from Mintel finds price comparison sites are now the number one port of call for insurance consumers. Today, over half (52%) of consumers turn to price comparison sites for their car insurance needs, while home insurance (32%) and travel insurance (12%) make up the remaining top 3 financial products.
Overall, six in ten (62%) Brits have used a price comparison site to purchase a financial product or to obtain quotes – equivalent to more than 24 million adults.
Toby Clark, Head of Finance at Mintel, said: “The appeal of price comparison sites is clear – they give consumers the chance to save money and time, cutting out much of the tedious work involved in finding multiple quotes. As more people turn to online channels to research and purchase different products, aggregator usage is likely to continue growing among consumers.”
While aggregators have gained considerable reach in the general insurance sector they have not yet managed to penetrate other financial markets to the same extent. Indeed, exclusive Mintel research shows just one in ten Brits turning to web aggregators for saving accounts or cash ISAs (11%) and credit cards (9%) and less than one in twenty consumers visiting these sites for life insurance (4%), personal loans (3%), current accounts (3%) and medical insurance (1%).
“The online distribution of financial products is largely governed by product complexity and consumer familiarity. Products that are less likely to require additional specialist advice such as general insurance and basic banking products are more likely to be purchased online than mortgages, life insurance and other long-term products,” Toby continues.
Despite their widespread appeal, difficult economic times have created a challenging environment for web aggregators. After a period of rapid expansion there have been signs of consolidation among some smaller players. Income has been squeezed, while at the same time marketing spend has risen sharply due to competition within the sector.
Web Aggregators UK 2009 is available from Mintel.
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