British #2 property portal Zoopla has released its accounts for the period from September 2019 to December 2020. The report shows the heavy impact on Zoopla's bottom line which came from pandemic related discounts the portal company conferred to its agent customers.
Although the accounting period was 15 months long, a step taken to align Zoopla's accounting period to that of its parent company ZPG, numbers for the period are significantly below those of the previous 12 month period.
The impact on Zoopla's bottom line may have hurt the company but it also helped the company convince agents to sign up with the portal.
The report noted that "Whilst the pandemic has had a material impact on the company's financial performance, this was primarily due to a strategic decision made to invest in its customers through the free of charge contracts."
In March 2020 Zoopla upped the ante in the battle against its perennial rival Rightmove by offering free use of its portal for agents agreeing to drop Rightmove. Zoopla also won a key PR battle over its rival by giving truly discounted listings packages well before Rightmove which was roundly condemned by agents for its pandemic response and initial discount package.
Although the latest missive from Zoopla did not include any new information about agent-customer numbers or anything around the money its agents are paying, going by recent press releases and releases from Rightmove, it seems that Zoopla and Rightmove both have between 19,000 and 20,000 agent customers on their books.
Elsewhere, the accounting report shows that Zoopla's hiring drive resulted in an average headcount that rose from 292 to 369. The company also disposed of print marketing firm Ravensworth and invested £19.3 million in new-build marketing and sales platform YourKeys.