Foolproof’s Online Shopping Survey into the way in which consumers shop for mortgages online found that 42% of those who currently have a mortgage had used the internet when they originally arranged it. It also discovered that the number of people who said they had applied for their current mortgage online had risen dramatically from 9% in 2007 to 18% this year. And, when asked about their next mortgage, nearly half (45%) said they would expect to go as far as apply and buy online.
But the high expectations that consumers have for researching mortgages online clashes dramatically with what they find. It appears that the mortgage industry has made very little progress over the last two years in delivering the information consumers want in the format they want it.
Tom Wood, founding partner, Foolproof explained: “The last two years’ economic problems have focused consumers’ minds on the need for better quality information on financial products before committing themselves to a purchase. For mortgages, consumers are rightly trying to research thoroughly the changed market, product availability and lending conditions but are being hampered by the fact that the mortgage industry has failed to make any noticeable progress in improving its online content. The net result is that in 2009 the online mortgage offering is worse than it was in 2007.
“Because it is such a poor experience for most, they are being forced against their instincts and preferences to contact a mortgage adviser rather than being able to do-it-themselves. Sites such as moneysavingsexpert.com and moneysupermarket.com are proving popular in informing online consumers and Google is making some headway in making mortgage-related search results more relevant and rewarding. But the industry collectively needs to improve its game immensely if it hopes to make the online channel more accessible to mortgage shoppers.”
The research found that the expected usage of comparison sites such as moneysupermarket.com had grown dramatically. 81% of those going online to research mortgages expected to visit a comparison site – up 12% from 69% in 2007. Consumers are using these comparison sites as the first port of call, rather than search engines, to see who is offering the best rates, which is reflected in the 20% decrease in expected search engine usage.