There has not been much commentary for well over a month on the tension between Trade Me Property and the real estate industry - up in arms over the new pricing structure. That was until this marketing flyer hit the digital wires today. Proclaiming that traffic and activity on the industry owned website of Realestate.co.nz has "gone through the roof".
These are some significant stats and naturally I am always keen to look into the numbers, where I can, to provide what I see as valuable insight.
1. More homes for sale than anyone else
Based on my own analysis as of today (2nd April) this is most definitely true. Not just more, but significantly more!
For the past 3 years at least Trade Me Property has had a subscriber base at least equal to Realestate.co.nz or close enough to make little difference and so from the perspective of licensed agents the two sites have been line-ball. On top of this Trade Me has an additional stock of listings from private sellers which on average have amounted to around 16% of the Trade Me listings which generally means Trade Me has around 18% to 19% more listings than Realestate.co.nz.
As of today that advantage to Trade Me has disappeared and Realestate.co.nz not only has more listings (a margin of 4%) but by applying an estimation factor for private listing, Realestate.co.nz has considerably more licensed agent listings (a margin of 18%).
In seeing this significant advantage to Realestate.co.nz I was naturally drawn to look at the hot-spot of the Hawkes Bay where the boycott against Trade Me continues and has seen a large proportion of agents listings only appearing on Realestate.co.nz. The actual make up of listings on both sites as of today in the Hawkes Bay are as follows.
This is staggering. In the Hawkes Bay Trade Me Property is only displaying 428 houses being marketed by real estate agents for sale as compared to 1,103 houses on Realestate.co.nz - I know where I would be looking for property for sale for sure in this area of the country!
2. More Traffic
The marketing flyer speaks to a lift of 30% in traffic over the past 6 months quoting Nielsen average daily unique browsers, certainly a very credible source of data. Not having access to Nielsen data I turned to a source I use quite a bit these days Similar Web. This service provides estimates of website traffic, by no means as accurate as Nielsen of Google Analytics but useful as far as seeing trends.
The trend since the start of the year has been of a significant growth backing up the more credible Nielsen stats.
No. 1 Property App
The Realestate.co.nz iPhone app was the first mobile property app in NZ, leading Trade Me Property by 18 months. Since that launch in late 2010 the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and rightfully can claim the mantle of the No. 1 property app in NZ.
The marketing flyer speaks to the download rank as the demonstration of leadership quoting "iTunes & app annie download rank of property apps in NZ". The source of this ranking data is App Annie which tracks the ranking of all iOS and Android apps. For the sake of relevance I have only examined the iPhone app download ranking as Trade Me Property does not have an Android app and the Realestate.co.nz iPad app has only just been launched.
The charts below show the past 12 months for the Trade Me Property iPhone app and the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app.
The Realestate.co.nz app is being downloaded at rate which consistently places it at around the 320th most popular app in NZ, whereas Trade Me Property app is further down the rankings at an average of 500th place.
These collective stats do provide (not that I was sceptical) a very clear demonstration that the battle for supremacy in the property portal space in NZ is actually not that clear cut and certainly in the past 4 months things have begin to change. I am not saying that Trade Me is wounded, but at the same time their is a clear demonstration that Realestate.co.nz is gaining. They do however need to make sure they attend to the detail, like for instance their version 2.0 of their iPhone app which was poorly tested before bugs were discovered which could have seriously undermined their credibility in that key space.