Digital transformation has been a necessity for many businesses over the past 18 months to enable them to function, grow and meet the demands of consumers – and our latest data has revealed our customers are embracing this technology like never before.
Keep reading below to find out how we were ahead of the curve and already geared up for this change in consumer behaviour…
Innovative tech solutions
We’re constantly driving digital innovations at Equity Release Supermarket and earlier this year we launched smartER - the UK’s first equity release search engine for consumers.
Almost 70% of our business is generated from our website and we expect this to increase further since the launch of smartER, which has already generated close to 30% of our ‘calculator’ related website page views since launching in September.
While our innovative tech solutions for our customers continue to drive growth, they are complemented by our more traditional channels and since lockdown restrictions came to an end face-to-face advice has grown from 9% in Q1 of this year to 28% in Q3 and 20% YTD. Meanwhile, advice over the phone dropped by expected levels from Q1 at 60% to 37% in Q3 and 46% YTD.
Having launched a video advice channel in March last year, we’ve continued to see popularity for this type of communication even post lockdown. The combination of telephone and video advice dropped by 1% in comparison to Q1, reported at 7% in Q3 and 7% YTD.
Most buoyant areas for business
Similar to last year, the heart of London, as well as the South East were the most buoyant areas for business, accounting for 37% of plans in Q1, 34% in Q3 and 35% YTD.
When it comes to regional property variances, London remains top of the charts, with the average release reported at £227,000 YTD – twice the national average of £113,000. While the North East borrows the least, standing at just £56,000 YTD.
It’s been encouraging to see business increase each quarter as we’ve moved out of lockdown, with the total amount clients release also rising in line with the general confidence in the market.
The need for great flexibility for spending equity has evolved over the past 18 months and we’ve seen consumer behaviour continuing to change. In fact, interestingly our clients were not borrowing more just to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday on house purchases. Instead, money released this year has been influenced by a combination of the Stamp Duty Holiday, the desire to support children financially and a need to reduce stress on outgoings during lockdown.
Younger clients seeking equity release
The many people with maturing interest only residential mortgages and the need to repay this mortgage has led to younger clients now seeking equity release. It was the case YTD that those aged between 60 and 64 accounted for 25% of our clients with 23% aged 65-69 and 19% aged between 70 and 74. However, more clients are now aged between 55 and 59 than within the 75 to 79 bracket (13% vs 11%).
The types of plans taken out were also reflective in the desire to borrow a single lump sum – to repay a mortgage, make a property purchase or pay a debt for example. Throughout the year, a lump sum plan proved to be the most sought after, with Q1 of this year representing 57%, Q2 equating to 60%, Q3 equalling 58% and YTD coming in at 58%. Drawdown plans come in just behind in second place. In Q1 this year they represented 35%, Q3 hit 31% and YTD equated to 33%.
Particularly strong growth
As a business, we have continued to grow and at the end of Q3 this year comparatively to last year, our revenues grew by 15% YOY.
This particularly strong growth at the end of Q3 was a result of the lockdown restrictions being lifted and it’s encouraging as we embark on the close of the year and also going into 2022 as our application volumes increased by 13% in September this year compared to September last year.
Our business performance as a whole is testament to the quality of our advice, our dynamic and talented team of advisers and our forward-thinking approach. We continue to build and grow for the future, and are looking forward to bringing further new innovations to market soon
You can also find out more about equity release by getting in touch with the Equity Release Supermarket team on freephone 0800 802 1051 or email [email protected].