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Falling market share for online agencies - are they doomed to fail?

The market share of hybrid and online agents has fallen again, this time to 6.7 per cent.

That figure - taken at the end of December by the property consultancy TwentyCi - is down from the recent high of 8.0 per cent in 2020.

Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer at TwentyCi, says: “Such a considerable underperformance in a buoyant market will clearly raise significant interest in the viability of the business model that has failed to gain traction with 93 per cent of sellers last year. 


“This suggests that perhaps sellers prefer the tangible, personal and reassuring approach given by traditional agents. Whether this is a blip remains to be seen.” 

The report shows that the online/hybrid segment of the market is dominated by three brands – Purplebricks, Yopa and Strike, who represent almost 70 per cent of the niche.  

TwentyCi says that during the pandemic many sectors and categories have seen a significant shift online; however, the estate agency sector has not followed the trend, with a low level of market penetration persisting. 

Traditional High Street agents have been found, in the main, to have benefited from the surge in residential property transactions. 

The fall in market share of the hybrid/online agents is across all the core price bands of the UK property market, other than in the transactions of £1m or more.

The £200,000 to £300,000 price bracket has experienced the largest year on year dip at -12.5 per cent.  

TwentyCi has also collated data showing how strong the market was in 2021 - the market that online agencies failed to capitalise on.

Sales agreed rose by 13 per cent year on year and exchanges jumped by over 28 per cent demonstrating that the momentum stimulated by the stamp duty holiday was maintained throughout 2021.  

New instructions were down by nearly six per cent compared to 2020 suggesting, says TwentyCi, that a strong sellers market still persists. 

The need for price changes was also significantly down (24 per cent) as was the number of properties being withdrawn from the market (17 per cent) indicating that sellers secured close to asking price for their property.

  • Chris Arnold

    "They're doomed to fail" if they can't get their message right.

    There are plenty examples of high-ticket sales being made online, but those over-riding messages are crystal clear. Online estate agencies message is do it yourself for less - not very appealing.

  • icon

    Just online is a flawed scheme for selling houses, usually progressed by those who have never worked as an Estate Agent or those who do not understand Estate Agency. Estate Agency is not a product you buy of the shelf in a shop.

  • Chris Arnold

    I'm genuinely interested in your argument, James. If an online agency was capable of gaining instructions, what part of the execution will cause them to fail?
    Not whether it is the best solution for a vendor, but whether they cannot execute the instruction satisfactorily to completion. Thank you.


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