Rightmove has published its much-anticipated results for 2020 covering the Covid pandemic and its 75% blanket subscription reduction.
This hit the company hard – revenues dropped by 29% to £205m last year compared to 2019, while profits dropped by 37% to £135m, an unprecedented set of results for the portal.
No mention is made within the results of its forced U-turn on subscription fees, having originally offered a deferred fee package before protests led to a change in mind by Brooks-Johnson. It was out of these protest groups that the SayNoToRightmove campaign began.
This means the campaign group and the other agents who pressurised Rightmove to drop its original subscription fee offer and bring in a more generous package saved agents overall just shy of £89m.
The pandemic cost Rightmove in other ways – average revenue per agent dropped to £778 from £1,088 the year before, although this had been recouped by December last year and rose back to £1,103, more than before the pandemic, helped by a surge in uptake of its premium Optimiser 2020 package among agents.
Its customer number dropped for the second year in a row as well – down last year by 3% to 19,197, a loss of 425 agency branches and 187 fewer new homes developments.
“We remain mindful that 2021 may bring further Covid-related challenges, but we will continue to deliver our strategy to help make home moving easier, delivering the best solutions to our customers and the most engaging experience for our users,” says Peter Brooks-Johnson, its CEO (pictured, above)
“As a team and a business, we have emerged stronger from 2020, with a better relationship with our customers, clear evidence of the resilience of our business and a stronger sense of common purpose.”
Brooks-Johnson also highlighted the success of its mortgage referral partnership with the Nationwide building society, and progress into the rental market.
This includes an appointment booking capability via its site for renters, which has been taken up by 400 agents and its ‘rental passport’ feature used 18,000 times.
Murray Lee of Dreamview Estates says: “I am pleased to see that the so-called ‘four musketeers’ of NW London who spoke to Brooks-Johnson and in particular Alan Goldin, managed to get Rightmove to change its mind and come up with a better subscription reduction offer back in March last year.
“This proves that agents do have some power when we come together, including the later four ‘SayNoToRightmove’ groups which persuaded many agents to leave, including me, without seeing any adverse affect on their business.”
Anthony Codling of Twindig (pictured) comments: “Rightmove has previously shown itself recession-proof, and for now, it seems to be pandemic proof as well. It had a booming time in 2020, but will Boomin provide it with a tougher challenge in 2021?”.