More than 1 in 6 New Zealanders with electricity changed to a different provider in the year to September 2013, with those visiting a comparison website such as whatsmynumber.org.nz almost 60% more likely to switch.
Since 2009, the ‘What’s My Number’ campaign by the Government’s Electricity Authority has aimed to increase competition in the industry by encouraging Kiwis to shop around.
And it’s clearly working. In an average four week period, 120,000 electricity customers (3.6%) visit a utilities comparison website—and over a quarter of them switch provider.
Just over half of all site visitors go to whatsmynumber.org.nz (61,000), followed by energywise.govt.nz (44,000), powerswitch.co.nz (43,000) and switchme.co.nz (6,000). The gap between total category visitors and the sum of the separate category sites suggests a large number of us are also double- or triple-checking our options.
Number of visitors to Utilities Price Switching Websites (last four weeks)
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source New Zealand, October 2012 - September 2013, Base: New Zealanders 14+ Connected to Electricity, n = 11,413
In the 12 months to September, around 580,000 New Zealanders (17.5% of those connected to electricity) switched electricity provider. However the rate of switching is 59% higher among those who have recently visited comparison sites, at 27.9%.
Of course, this also means that the vast majority of people (72.1%) who visited a comparison site in an average four week period did not (yet) switch provider.
Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:
“After the deregulation of the electricity market in 1999, New Zealanders remained ‘sticky’—often staying on with our default retailer despite the potential for shopping around and making savings.
“This latest research clearly shows that the What’s My Number website still receives over 60,000 visitors each month on average, with other comparison sites not far behind—and around 28% of those who compare electricity prices online end up switching provider’."
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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