Comparethemarket owner bumps up sales giving Aleksandr and Sergei something to write home about

 
Oliver Gill
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Comparethemarket's meerkat advertising campaign has been hugely successful in the UK (Source: BGL)

The owner of price comparison website Comparethemarket today revealed double-digit revenue growth during the first six months of its financial year.

The figures

BGL, which also owns Beagle Street and Budget Insurance brands, said group revenue jumped 14 per cent.

Comparethemarket.com revenue increased by 15 per cent, while lesfurets.com (literally, the ferets) revenues soared by 34 per cent in local currency.

Customer numbers reached 8.3m.

Read more: Comparethemarket.com is considering an IPO

Why it's interesting

There's been a lot of noise about BGL's stockmarket listing. First reported as on the cards over a year ago, its £2bn float is now expected to be launched later this year.

Price comparison websites have done well in the UK in recent years, but less well outside of Blighty. The reason? It's mainly down to the way in which consumers buy insurance, for example the strong broker network in France or the fact that in Spain people like the websites and then often pick up the phone to seal the deal.

But the growth by lesfurets.com will likely spark interest that the tide is turning abroad.

Read more: Government cuts discount rate: Insurers to lose billions

Even if it isn't, price comparison firms believe there is still a lot of business yet to be won, with around only a fifth of people using price comparison sites when selecting insurance products. Much to the chagrin of consumer champions, the bulk still let things like motor insurance auto-renew.

(Source: BGL)

There is no mention of the impact of the government's move to cut discount rates in today's release. Experts have predicted the way in which consumers buy even the less price sensitive items such as car insurance will change.

Read more: Warren Buffett: Five things you need to know about today's annual letter

Increased costs passed on from the discount rate cut will likely play into the hands of price comparison sites, with more people incentivised to shop around as premiums jump.

What the company said

Chief executive Matthew Donaldson said:

We’ve had a record start to our financial year and have recorded significant growth across our business.

In comparethemarket.com, this growth has been supported by a focus on driving customer loyalty and, in our insurance distribution and outsourcing (IDO) division, we continue to maintain and build successful partnerships with trusted brands.

Across all of our operations we continue to innovate and improve our digital offer for customers, and we now have over 2.4m IDO customers registered to our online self-service centre.

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