There is a fundamental disconnect in the real estate industry today between where the industry advertises and where the audience of buyers are researching.
The latest data from this Nielsen survey highlights this in stark relief. Currently around 90% of the dollars spent by the industry (somewhere over $2,000,000 per week) is spent on traditional print media – specialist magazines as well as national and local newspapers.
That spend though is not relevant to where buyers are researching the property market. The Nielsen survey asked respondents to select which of 15 different mediums (print, online, signs, magazines etc) they had used in the past week to assist in researching real estate. Respondents were able to tick as many forms of media as they liked.
The results this year are staggering as is the trend of the 4 years that the survey has been undertaken – this point is made as whilst some may judge that as the survey is undertaken online there may be a bias. However you judge the methodology, the trends are not to be ignored or dismissed.
National newspapers have now fallen to a level where just 1 in 4 of people surveyed had used them to research in the past week. Back in 2007 it was just half of all people surveyed, in 2008 it fell to 43% and last year it was down to less than 1 in 3. So in the space of just 3 years the proportion of people in the survey relying on national newspapers to research real estate has halved.
Specialist real estate magazines have equally suffered a decline over the years. In 2007 they were judged by 6 out of 10 respondents as being a part of property researching in the past week. By 2008 they had fallen to 55%, 2009 saw a further fall to below half of all those surveyed and finally this year they have fallen again to just 45%.
Over the same period the web has been in the ascendancy. Even back in 2006 with the first survey, the web was judged by 7 out of 10 to be a valuable source of research in the past week. In 2010 that ascendancy and supremacy has grown. Heading the pack are specialist real estate websites of which Realestate.co.nz and Trade me property are the two dominant sites, this category is now judged by 8 out of 10 respondents as a valuable source of research in the past week. Closely behind are company websites (64%) and search engines (42%).
Not only are real estate websites chosen more often as a source of property research the amount of time that people are spending on them continues to grow. For specialist real estate websites the weekly total is now over 3 hours (197 minutes) up from 172 minutes last year. Company websites and search engines are both up and both exceed 2 hours per week. The print publications in the real estate arena on the other hand are falling – national newspapers now account for less than an hour per week and specialist real estate magazines just over an hour a week (down from 77 to 76 minutes).
The trends presented in this Nielsen survey truly reflect usage by property buyers. More and more these days real estate professionals rely heavily on lead generation and online marketing of their clients’ properties from the web – on specialist real estate websites as well as their own company websites.
With close to 90% of all NZ’ers now accessing the web and broadband penetration exceeding half of the population, not to mention the projected rise in mobile internet, the future for the real estate industry will ever more be online – the question is clearly going to be – for how much longer can the industry afford to keep pumping all that money into print media?Note: The Nielsen Real Estate Market Report is based on a website-intercept survey on New Zealand real estate websites conducted during May and June 2010 with a sample size of 1,225 respondents and a margin of error of 2.86%.