Rightmove has this morning given its 2018 report to shareholders, laying bare the huge financial wealth of the company which dominates the UK portal scene.
The average revenue per advertiser - that’s ARPA, the critical measure for portals - has risen £83 in the past year to £1,005.
Revenue is up 10 per cent year on year with growth; underlying operating profit is up 10 per cent and operating profit up 11 per cent.
It says it’s seen continued traffic growth with visits up over four per cent averaging nearly 132 million visits per month( and the time on site up five per cent at over a billion minutes per month.
The portal has enjoyed what it calls ìstable membership” - in fact its agency and new homes customer numbers are up slightly to 20,454 - while it boasts that “virtually the whole of the property market in one place with one million UK residential properties advertised on Rightmove, which is more than any other UK portal.”
And the company insists there’s more growth to come despite economic uncertainty for agents and the apparent threat of rival portals.
This morning Rightmove has told its shareholders: “We believe the UK online property advertising market will continue to grow, despite the continuing uncertainties stemming from the result of the EU referendum. Consumers and customers are becoming increasingly digital and customer spend continues to transition online from traditional advertising channels as they take advantage of the efficiencies we bring.
“Our clear market leadership coupled with the value of our digital solutions and our unrivalled data positions us well for the future. We remain vigilant to the macro environment, but Rightmove is not materially impacted by the property market cycle except in the most extreme circumstances. With ARPA continuing to grow and our commitment to further innovation, the Board remains confident of making further progress in 2019.”
Peter Brooks-Johnson, Rightmove’s chief executive, has told shareholders: "2018 was another strong year for Rightmove. We extended our market leadership and reinforced our position as the place consumers turn to first when thinking about moving home. In doing so, we demonstrated that Rightmove is a business which can continue to grow strongly even in uncertain times.
“We focus relentlessly on creating a more efficient marketplace, constantly innovating to provide deeper insights to our agent and developer customers, and an even simpler, more intuitive user experience for home hunters.
“Visits and time spent on site both continued to grow, with over 1.5 billion visits from consumers over the year. The resilience of our customer base is shown by our stable membership numbers, with particularly notable growth coming from New Homes developments. I'm excited by our plans for 2019 as we continue to focus on innovation to make home moving easier."
The company returned £168.5m to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in 2018 and its final dividend of 6.5p shows a 12 per cent rise.
This morning’s statement also reveals that Rightmove’s chairman, Scott Forbes, is stepping down next year after 14 years.