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A quarter of consumers don't use portals to conduct property searches

New research shows that 77 per cent of consumers use portals to conduct property searches - meaning, surprisingly, that almost a quarter of buyers do not use them.

Another unexpected statistic is that some 59 per cent of agents use portals as their primary marketing tool; suggesting the other 41 per cent do not.

These are the findings of a major study conducted by Zoopla.


It says that its recent State of the Property Nation survey - which involved speaking with 6,000 consumers and over 650 agents across the country - revealed that some 12 per cent of house hunters now using Facebook to browse for homes, a 50 per cent increase from the same time a year ago.

It says that 53 per cent of the agents surveyed are also set to beef up their digital and email marketing with nearly two thirds also planning to make more use of social media.

Email remains the communication method of choice for consumers, however, with the survey revealing that 47 per cent of those wanting homes to rent or buy set up email alerts via portals. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, email alerts are most popular with Londoners where over six in 10 are signed up.

Portals remain important to agents and house hunters alike with almost six in 10 of agents surveyed using them as their primary marketing tool. 

Amongst consumers, 77 per cent use portals to conduct their property search. 

Particularly popular with renters and buyers, two thirds of leads now originate from a property portal, according to the agents surveyed.

Apps are also playing an increasingly large part with 20 per cent of consumers now having a property app installed on their digital devices, whether active in the market or not.

Consumers are using apps on average 4.8 times per week, and out of those actively searching for a property, upsizers favour app usage over any other demographic, with 44 per cent having a property app installed on a phone or tablet.

“The industry is adapting to changes in consumer behaviour and looking to capitalise on the amount of time prospective buyers and vendors spend in the digital environment. This is nowhere more apparent than in the research stages of buying, selling or renting; agents know this, which is why more of them are embracing digital marketing than ever before” says Andy Marshall, Zoopla’s chief commercial officer.

  • Chris Arnold

    Six thousand consumers? A major survey?

  • Proper Estate Agent

    We get as many enquiries from our own website as rightmove, and rarely mention rightmove etc on a valuation. Cn;t say I'm surprised at this.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Simply put, Property Portals Rightmove, Zoopla, etc are the exit lounge for property and rental property, and social media is the import lounge for gaining vendors and landlords.

    But now social media is increasingly becoming the go to place to find your next rental or property to live in. Gone are the days when agents newspaper advertising was both the product, houses for sale and to let, and their branding.

    The beauty of social media, is that in the same household you can send a different message to different people, so unlike a newspaper advert - universal in its reach - but a blunt instrument - a bespoke piece of social media can really engage the correct target audience. This is why new estate agents (this term includes letting agents) who are of course using social media are killing the market, overturning established legacy businesses in medium sized towns.

    Customers - vendors and landlords - are being influenced by these companies. That is why I in my consultancy spend a large amount of time talking about having a bespoke social media solution, and maybe cutting portal spend and using social media to get the brand out there, so when you sit with the landlord or vendor, your brand is already inside their head.

    And just posting on your Facebook, twitter or Instagram account may be doing very little to grow your digital footprint, you need to pay for a digital marketeer, to ensure that 'copy' which also needs to be produced gets in front of the correct people at the correct time. For those who think social media is for children, here is a fact, half the globe is now populated by Generation-Z.

    This is your up and coming client, they use apps for everything and look at different and emerging platforms Tik Tok.

    They speak on mobiles only 38% of the time using social media for all their other communication, if your business is founded on the telephone (Alexander Bell's invention in the 19th century) you are going to be increasingly out of the loop.

    If you want some sound advice on this topic contact me estate-agency-insights-strategies.co.uk it might just increase your profits by 35% over the next 12-months.

  • Phil Priest

    Why is this big news? everyone is watching the mass exodus of agents using portals due to the excessive fee's is happening everywhere. Only a blind agent with a blonde dog fails to see what is going on around them.

    so 25% dont use the portals, it might sound small but in fact it is huge. How many of the 75% are genuine searches or are they doing the Boxing Day twitch and searching for fun?
    I suspect if they have gone to an agents website directly, then they are more serious in looking locally.

    So what!!.. If you are the dominant agent in the area, and your image (online and offline) are excellent then you will get more enquires, but also more listings too.

    I agree with J Blackmore about eh website enquiries, I wondered in what time frame this has happened?

    Andrew is also worth a call, I think we will start to see the decline of RM in the next 18 months as Gen-Z gets busier in the markets and will go to social media for credibility of the company before engaging in business.

    > Social Media (Awareness and value)
    > Google (No1. and good reviews)
    > Website (must look nice and professional)
    > Social Media (provides credibility) > More Listings

    BTW Social media is NOT posting every property you have for sale, that's more annoying than posting a photo of every meal you have.


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