Rightmove has reported that Wednesday the 17th of February was the portal's busiest day ever with 8.5 million sessions recorded as house-hunters look towards post-lockdown moves. The number of sales and rental leads delivered to agents was also up for February by 22% and 39% respectively. Although given recent research into the quality of British portal leads, agents may be taking these figures with a pinch of salt.
The news comes as Rightmove delivered a set of yearly results which saw revenue for the year drop 29% and membership drop 3%. The public portal company has also claimed this week to have saved agents over £90 million in listings fees thanks to its initially controversial pandemic policy.
One key performance indicator for Rightmove which is regularly a source of both investor delight and agent umbrage is that of average revenue per advertiser (ARPA). After rising steadily over the years and fuelling Rightmove's extraordinary EBITDA margins, the figure for 2020 stood at £778 per month representing a -28% drop year on year. The figure did however reportedly rise to £1,103 for December and there have been some price rises and some backlash over recent months as Rightmove looks to a tried and tested method in ins attempts to recoup some of its pandemic shortfall.
Among prominent voices to air grievances about Rightmove last Friday was Michael Bruce, formerly of Purple Bricks and now the Chief Executive of set-to-launch British property portal Boomin. In an open letter released prior to Rightmove's results announcement Bruce makes clear his feelings about a "bleak" future for agents under the status quo and highlights Rightmove's high-profit margins which he claims are higher than "any other company in the FTSE 100 Index of the UK’s leading companies".
Bruce's letter can be read in full on Estate Agent Today
Boomin, which is set to launch "soon", is expected by many industry commentators to be the one from an increasing pack of recently launched challengers to have the backing to potentially be able to make a dent in Rightmove's market power. This week's letter is clearly the latest part of a well thought out PR strategy designed to paint Boomin as being on the side of the agent.