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Portal wars: Bank says OTM's impact 'declining'

Analysis of Britain’s three rival property portals shows that Rightmove is strengthening its position, Zoopla’s loss of agents has stabilised, and OnTheMarket’s impact on the portal landscape is reducing.

The study has been undertaken by Swiss bank UBS. 

“Our analysis from UBS 'evidence lab' suggests that, after an initial surge post its January launch, the progress of new UK property portal OnTheMarket has been slow and that agent share has now stabilised” it says. 


“On the consumer side OTM continues to have limited traction with its app download share only five per cent of the combined app downloads of the three property portal companies (Rightmove 57 per cent, Zoopla 38 per cent). It is our view that OTM is unlikely to work over time” claims UBS. 

It says OnTheMarket, which launched six months ago, now has about 5,200 agents signed up, from about 19,000 to 20,000 possible offices. 

“We see it as having actually strengthened the hand of market leader Rightmove and reiterate our Buy rating [of Rightmove]. Zoopla lost initial share, but our Buy rating [of Zoopla] reflects a view this will reverse over the next few years, and we see UBS evidence lab data suggesting stabilization of its position in the last months as supportive” says the report.

The bank also says Rightmove’s strength could be down to more than just its historic dominance in the UK portal market and the end of the housing downturn: “It could be some agents returning from OTM too. Upgrading of its app offering has seen it established on our data as the leading UK property portal app above Zoopla in the last 12 months too. Overall we see the launch of OTM as having actually strengthened the position of Rightmove by making it a stronger number one in the segment” the report says. 

UBS adds: “Our data shows that Zoopla had a slight increase in agent branch count in June suggesting stabilisation of its market share loss. Its consumer traction has remained solid, with its app download share having fallen somewhat reactive to Rightmove (potentially due to improved Rightmove functionality), but they remain in the top 30 in the Lifestyle category.” 

The report also claims that four of what it calls the 'top 100' estate agents are breaking OTM's only-one-other-portal rule.

It concludes: “We see the results as supportive of our view that Zoopla will remain the number two UK property portal and will slowly recover its share losses to OTM.”

The full report is here.

  • icon

    No massive surprise here, although I have just read the article this morning on PIE. What a load of nonsense!

  • Simon Shinerock

    I clearly don't wish to encourage our readers to go 'over there' but really, the latest article applauding OTM is frankly embarrassing. OTM appears to think it can spin its way to success but facts are facts and cannot be denied. I think the interesting tng now is to encourage the shop floor staff in OTM offices to speak out and tell us what is really happening, I suspect there is a lot more 'trouble at mill' than is currently aknowleged

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    • R M
    • 28 July 2015 09:16 AM

    It' alright Simon I have come here to comment. I have watched that press release building day by day, watching the figures grow and grow. I am obviously not the only one to be able to do that. Not for the first time have UBS come out with a very coincidental story. At 2:30 this morning I very nearly posted "6:30 will be interesting" I had worked out from your story what was Ros was going to publish, and so it happened.

    Here's what I reckon, I think someone needs to sit down for a few hours with Linked in, press stories on both EAT and Eye as well as the broad sheet press in both its formats and work out as I have done the full landscape of who is connected to who, who is talking to who and what the back story actually is.

    It would probably help if those posting declared their own agenda rather than each playing the role of an independant commentator.

    Enough for now I am off to watch for the third leg of this stool to get tweeted!

  • icon

    In a report from a Swiss Bank you would expect the two PLCs to come out on top, wouldn't you? Perhaps, after all the fuss, the most interesting observation is that there are still firms breaking the 'one other portal rule' - the reason many agents didn't join in the first place!

  • Rob  Davies

    "Analysis of Britain’s three rival property portals shows that Rightmove is strengthening its position, Zoopla’s loss of agents has stabilised, and OnTheMarket’s impact on the portal landscape is reducing."

    I think most of us could have told you that. The question is, how long will OTM last before they try and slip away unnoticed. A lot of big egos are going to be bruised if this goes to pot, so I'm sure they'll do all they can to cling onto a sinking ship for as long as possible, convincing themselves that the portal can still be a success.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    @John Bamonte - which goes to show the stupidity of the rule in the first place. People were never going to stick it. It was regressive, petty and narrow-minded. Banning online agents was exactly the same. OTM was there to look after the vested interests of the very big high-street agents in some extremely misguided and arrogant attempt to show the property world that RM and Zoopla weren't needed. That went well, didn't it?

    The saddest aspect of all this is the smaller agencies who have put total faith in OTM and are going to lose out as a result. Not that the bigwigs who run AM/OTM really care too much about that.

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    • R M
    • 28 July 2015 10:07 AM

    "The saddest aspect of all this is the smaller agencies who have put total faith in OTM and are going to lose out as a result" not if I can help it they won't

  • Kelly Evans

    The anti-OTM rhetoric here is ridiculous. OTM was set up to help agents, to show RM and Zoopla that they couldn't do whatever the hell they liked and not be challenged on it. Monopolies and duopolies are frowned upon in every other walk of life, but in the property industry it seems to be somehow OK. Maybe because estate agents are all lazy, overpaid, corrupt wrong'uns who should just put up or shut up, right? RM and Zoopla should be able to charge any fees they like and no-one says anything about it, that's the dream for some people here.

    I take all the research and analysis from so-called experts with a massive pinch of salt. Every time it's something different, what are we to believe? Everyone seems to have their own agendas, so I don't think even the independent research can really be trusted.

    I can only go from personal experience. From what I've seen, and many others I know have seen, OTM is doing a fantastic job for a large majority of agents. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  • Jon  Tarrey

    @Robert May - how?

  • Fake Agent

    I get the impression this is going to get a bit lively. Nothing like a portal debate to get the debate going!

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    Bottom line - Rightmove rubbing their hands together (in between smirking)

  • Simon Shinerock

    Kelly, if the OTM strategy had any hope of working that would be one thing, however, short of the laws of Pyysics doing a backflip it doesn't, what it does do is bring traditional High St agents closer to extinction by their own hands and attracts negative consumer sentiment fanned by a hostile media. Zoopla was challenging Rightmove, OTM has slowed that process, that's all. If OTM had started with more modest goals and a fairer more open policy I would have supported them. As it is I have had first hand experience of the high handed way they treat anyone who dares to voice dissention, I guess like Groucho Marx, I would never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member :)

  • icon

    oh dear. just returning from another property publication. what a joke. it really is wrong to publish such bias when people are using this to direct their business into these crazy contracts. still it seems self fueling because these 5 year contracts are being used to fund advert on that publication.

  • icon

    are these guys waking up in the night thinking what on earth have we done?

  • Jon  Tarrey

    They're too blinded to see what is right in front of their eyes. It's quite sad, really, they just won't accept any criticism or OTM, despite its obvious failings.

    It's all about taking back control or something. "Portals don't sell houses, people do" is a popular slogan for the OTMers. Self-interest, pure and simple. The trad agents are just jealous that they didn't think of the RM and Z idea all those years ago. RM and Z have become bigger than any agent would ever be able to be, and the high-street agents don't like it.

    These are the people who sneer at online agents or DIYers. Surely the property industry should be collaborative in nature? People working together, not trying to knock everyone down. Horribly idealistic, I know, but not impossible. One of the reasons I left the profession (many years ago now) was this petty, "I know better than you", "we don't need change for change's sake" attitude. Both sides are guilty of it - by which I mean online and traditional - and it just means any serious discussion is always bogged down in playground politics.

  • Rookie Landlord

    I think you need a lie down, Jon, you're getting yourself too worked up.

    Why shouldn't they take back control? Should they just let RM and Z dictate to them forever more? As Kelly says above, it's usually seen as a good thing when duopolies are challenged, but in this case the vitriol directed at OTM from the industry is staggering. Nonetheless, they seem to have as many supporters as detractors, and seem to be picking up pretty decent market share, so I don't think the death knell should be sounded just yet.

  • Rob  Davies

    I've always said it, the biggest problem with OTM is they aren't there for the best interests of the customer, the public, the people who keep them in a job. OTM is there to protect traditional high-street agents from what they see as the unfair fees charged by RM and Z.

    Vested interests at the very top, but it won't be the larger agencies who lose out. It'll be the smaller agencies that suffer when OTM crashes and burns.

    Yes, a conversation needs to be had about portals and traditional agencies, but AM/OTM turned it into a toxic issue from the very start, particularly with their one other portal rule and the exclusion of online agents. Zoopla haven't exactly been angels in all this, but they were only defending themselves against attacks from OTM. All in all, pretty tawdry. And, at the end of the day, RM will still be the top of the pile, by an even bigger distance than before. Brilliant.

  • Neil Briggs

    I've never known the property industry to be so divided over an issue! The opinions on both side are so strong that I can't see a consensus being reached anytime soon. We'll have to see what happens over the next few years to see if OTM really can compete with RM and Zoopla.

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    • 28 July 2015 16:03 PM

    This is certainly getting the property industry all riled up (as to be expected with a portal update!)

    I never saw OTM being a success or having any longevity as its one other portal rule was utterly ridiculous, and don't even get me started on the exclusion of online agents!

    It'll be interesting to see where OTM are in the next year or so. Predictions?

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    • R M
    • 28 July 2015 19:08 PM

    I am very surprised UBS are counting digital somethings, the hits, page views and click through stats when usually it is turnover and profit figures they get all concerned about

    The AM agents sold £4.9 billion property and earned about £58.5 million commission for the month.
    Combined total Rightmove and Zoopla earned between them about £3.12 million from those agents, lets guess at 60/40 split RM/Z so £1.872 million to Rightmove £1.248 to Zoopla.

    OTM earned £2.08 million from the same agents.

    Can someone from UBS please explain why they are knocking OTM when it, like for like, out performs both its main competitors? What exactly have the digital numbers got to do with it if in banking terms OTM is banking more cash. You can look at it another way AM agents aren't now spending £2.08 million with one or other of the main portals.

  • icon

    Afraid the calculations above are ridiculous. For someone technically minded I'm very surprised you'd write such rubbish

  • icon

    And what do the banks know? they did not foresee the property crash so how on earth can they forecast the future for a property portal. Its complete bunkum.

  • Terence Dicks

    Hey guys, the portals are TOOLS. WE sell houses, not them. Simple. All I hear about is OTM this, Zoopla that!! I am selling property because I work , with no quick fixes, ridiculously long and unsocial hours for my clients. I just happen to like the job I do, and do it well. I may be lucky to live in an area where hardly anyone actually uses a portal, because people call up when they have seen one of our boards, normally on a road they cannot remember the name of!! Do not make the mistake of thinking the portals are more influential than they are. They, and other online agents cannot sell property the way we do, and they never will because they think it is easy. It is simple, not easy. All the advertising and bitching in the world will not replace board presence and a strong work ethic.


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