It seems that there’s really only one smart way to search for property in 2012 – that’s on a mobile device. Over the past week the usage of mobile devices to access real estate listing content blew through yet another new record.
A staggering 1 in 5 of property hunters used a mobile device to find property information – 22% of all views of listings on realestate.co.nz were undertaken on the go, from a mobile device. That’s a massive increase from just 8% a year ago.
Even more impressive is the fact that mobile users engage with the mobile app far more than the website – it is turning out to be very “sticky” – the average visitor using the app views 37 pages per visit as compared to just 11 on the website. People clearly recognise the real value of having real data in the palm of their hand.
The key fact to bear in mind when it comes to mobile, is that users on the mobile platform are by-and-large more likely to be seriously active property seekers. The mobile is not a “lean back experience” as the web can be with super-glossy wide screen images, the mobile is about information. Location details, listing details, great photos and easy contact to the agent by phone, email or text.
Choice of mobile device
When it comes to the choice of device the most popular was the iPad – it represented nearly half of all mobile usage in March. On the iPad the app though only represented 20% of users with the other 80% of users choosing to view the website on the device. The iPhone represented 40% of all mobile users in the month with a 60/40 split between the app and the web. Android came in 3rd with 14% of all mobile users, although it is fast catching up ground, with a 6 fold increase in the past year; its usage is evenly split between app and the web.
There are some interesting insights of mobile usage which surprise some people. Mobile usage is not restricted to just the main cities and large towns, in an average month, every single listings we have in the database with an address is viewed at least once. That shows the mobile app is used right around the country when discovering property around you for sale or rent from Kaitia to the Bluff!
NZ’s favourite real estate app
The app is clearly NZ’s favourite real estate app, blasting through 70,000th downloads and only growing faster by the day – an average week sees around 1,200 downloads, in the 4 days over Easter we saw over 1,600 downloads; taking us ever closer to 100,000 downloads in the next few months.
In the month of March over 85,000 visitors opened up the app to discover property for rent and for sale right around them, letting them make better house hunting decisions whilst out-and-about.
To further accelerate this rate of download and usage we are delighted to have our partner Westpac undertake another extensive advertising campaign on bus shelters and on TV. Our partnership with Westpac is mutually beneficial adding value to Westpac customers to help them in the home buying process by showing them a smart way to house hunt on the go with the app, as well as info on local branches, ATM’s and also contact details for their Mobile Mortgage Managers.
It is always useful to compare NZ uptake and usage of real estate mobile with key developed markets such as UK, Australia and the US.
The data for the UK is not the most recent; the leading website for real estate in the UK is Rightmove, back in August last year they reported in their half year report that 14% of access to listing was via the mobile, I am sure that has grown significantly since then.
In Australia the leading website of realestate.com.au reported that at December they had reached 700,000 downloads of their mobile apps. With a population 5 times that of NZ this means that our activity level is about half that of Australia.
In the US the leading website of Zillow was a very early innovator of the mobile platform, starting with an iPhone app in 2009 and now having an app for all platforms (inc Windows and Blackberry) – they report usage on mobile being 24% of all access to listings. In their Q4 financial report for 2011 they reported also that property was viewed on the mobile devices at the rate of 53 houses per second (3,180 per minute) in January. Now that is a stunning stat. For us in NZ we are currently seeing a rate of 24 houses viewed per minute. Allowing for the fact that the US population is 71 times that of NZ means that we are seeing activity at about half the rate of the US.
So as ever the rate of development overseas shows us how the the future is likely to look; and it looks like we will continue to see exponential growth in mobile usage across the various mobile devices, with NZ’s favourite real estate app only continuing to grow faster in usage and engagement.