Daybat analyst Javier Etxebeste crunches the numbers for November to determine what’s going on in the hotly contested online classifieds space between Spanish portals Idealista and Fotocasa.
For at least the last 10 years, the online real estate classifieds category in Spain has been dominated by an intense fight between the pure property multi country player Idealista , and the Schibsted-owned property portal Fotocasa.
Idealista was acquired by the private equity asset company Apax for around €150 million in 2015 and was founded by Jesus Encinar and his team.
Fotocasa was originally run by David Gonzalez, the iconic face of the on and offline classifieds’ industry in Spain over the last 20 years and was fully acquired by Norwegian media company Schibsted five years ago.
After Schibsted fully acquired Fotocasa, it appeared that they focused their energy on building both the business and value of the portal to push ahead of Idealista, but recently it seems that Idealista is regaining power in terms of audience leadership in Spain. This is possibly because of Schibsted’s strategic shift from the vertical to the horizontal and mobile app arena – they recently acquired Milanuncios and launched Vibbo.
At least that is what some web and stock analysts seem to suggest.
Global sales metrics: Fotocasa vs Idealista
At Daybat we focus on the content and revenue dimensions of the real estate players and as we did with our analysis of ImmobielienScout24 some weeks ago, and in this particular analysis we will narrow down on the competition between Idealista and Fotocasa in the sales property category (we’ll leave rentals for another date).
Idealista has overtaken Fotocasa with its number of listings – being 821k vs Fotocasa’s 598k. This lead for Idealista is even stronger in the prívate listings category, with 214k for Idealista vs 122k for Fotocasa – being almost double the number. This is a key category, not only because of the implications that private sellers have in the horizontal emerging categories, but because Spanish buyers prefer private seller listings as these do not require agent commissions and they tend to be of higher publishing quality than agents’ listings.
We have also reviewed the evolution of the available listings of both players and have witnessed that Idealista tends to be much more consistent than Fotocasa (we do not display Idealista’s data here). We have therefore decided to focus on Fotocasa’s evolution and analyse it a bit deeper.
Fotocasa sales – Global metrics
It is clear that Fotocasa’s inventory fluctuates significantly over the period with a big drop of 128k residential listings from week 32 (2nd August) to week 44. There is no easy explanation for this as August is a dead month in Spain and activity clearly jumps from September forward. The drop tends to come from the agent’s segment, (approximately 90% of the drop).
From a preliminary view, we can confirm that a significant decrease of listings tends to come from top agents with 40k lost listings from the top 10 sellers ( all of them agents) and almost 80k from the top 1k sellers.
Fotocasa sales – Portal metrics
In terms of non-standard featured listings, Fotocasa is not significantly affected, with a rough number of 34k listings featured in week 34, with no material drop in both listings and preferential display revenue.
Are Fotocasa’s campaigns affecting their listings?
All these factors lead us to believe that Fotocasa is probably using an intensive trade ¨campaign¨ approach, pushing inventory in certain periods with special trade terms through telemarketing or online campaigns. A recent campaign (pictured below) says the portal now has ‘more flats than ever’.
Although growing listings is a key metric for any property portal, we are not convinced this turbulence is healthy; neither from a seller point of view or a buyer perspective -potentially this might be one of the factors affecting Fotocasa’s relative weaker competitive position.
Through analysing the data from both of these portals, we’ve determined that a portal’s sales inventory does not ensure audience, but that a lack of quality listings is a key bottleneck to satisfying the real estate users and potential buyers.
The future of the race
It appears that Idealista is focusing more on stable content and the strength of its relationships with agents and honing in on the availability of private listings. If this continues to be the case, it should soon reflect positively on both Idealista’s audience and revenue.
Please stay tuned over the next few months. We will come back and will share our perspective in one of the most intense vertical competitive battles in Europe.