OnTheMarket Turns a Profit But Number of Listing Agents Drops

October 12, 2020
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OnTheMarket has this morning released its results for the 6 months ending on July 31st. The portal has turned a profit for the first time reporting revenue up 28% on last year with an adjusted operating profit of £0.8 million, a figure which is much improved from the loss of £6.7 million in 2019. Among the factors driving this newfound profitability has been a 15% increase in average revenue per agent (ARPA) which stood at £124 per month, up from £108 per month in 2019.

Another key reason for OnTheMarket’s profitability is the company’s cash preserving measures which have seen marketing spend decrease by 67% to just £2.2 million in the period covered by the report. In any other year, the decrease in marketing spend, a metric which includes traffic acquisition, could perhaps be cited as a reason for the portal’s 3% drop in visits over the covered period. The report states though that traffic and leads were severely impacted in March, April and May during the worst of the pandemic and that over the last two months traffic has been around 26 million visits and leads delivered have been around 1.9 million.

Acting CEO Clive Beattie, who will step down from his role to make way for incoming CEO Jason Tebb and is expected to retake his position as group CFO, said of today’s results:

“We have been particularly pleased with the strong consumer engagement with the portal since the easing of national lockdown restrictions in May, with record leads indicating that those consumers most active in the property market visit OnTheMarket.com.”

“We continue to believe that our differentiated proposition, with agents at the heart of our strategy as both customers and majority shareholders, provides a strong foundation for future growth. Whilst we remain cautious amidst the ongoing uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the actions we have taken, and the demonstrable value we provide our agent customers, gives me continued confidence in the future success of the Company.”

While the financial aspect of today’s results may make for encouraging reading, the number of agents listing on the agent-lead property portal could be said to be somewhat disappointing. Despite an undercurrent of anti-Rightmove sentiment in the market, listing agency numbers for OnTheMarket where actually down by 2% on 2019’s figures at 12,245.

As the Say No To Rightmove campaign admitted recently, the exodus from Rightmove to more reasonably priced portals has not yet materialized and although the number of agencies listing on the market-leading portal had dropped 3.3% to 19,158 at the beginning of August, the gap between Rightmove and OnTheMarket in terms of inventory and coverage remains sizeable.

October 12, 2020
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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