Price comparison websites are nearly as old as the internet itself. Bargain Finder – which is largely considered to be the first example of the format – was launched in 1995. Bargain Finder was much more of a social project than current price comparison websites. The founders of the website saw it as a tool to combat market manipulation by offering consumers as much information as possible about the state of a market before they made a purchase.
Today, price comparison websites dominate many markets. There are several pros to using price comparison websites. They simplify the process of sifting through the labyrinth of online deals. They confront consumers with the actual cost of their potential purpose, and they accurately rank the deals offered by various companies. There is, however, some concern about the transparency of modern price comparison sites – as evidenced in this Citizen’s advice report from the UK.
Ultimately, price comparison websites can be a powerful tool for consumer empowerment if they are run responsibly and deal with data ethically. Here are four areas of commerce where price comparison websites have gained a huge amount of power.
Buying car insurance can be immensely complicated. Each company will offer differing quotes depending upon a huge quantity of variables, from driver age to the location of the vehicle that needs to be insured. This complex system of variables is why price comparison sites are so popular among potential car insurance customers. They allow customers to enter in their details and receive multiple quotes to compare at the same time. This cuts down on time and complexity. With such a large userbase, some car insurance price comparison sites have ‘sold out’ and work with only a few insurance providers. Make sure to find a reliable site to search on. They need to display their affiliations on their site.
Business Water Rates
The price of water fluctuates hugely, and the business water market is unregulated. It makes sense, therefore, that price comparison websites like Utility Bidder have emerged that allow business owners to search for the best water provision deals in their area. Businesses that use lots of water in manufacturing processes or in order to provide facilities for large staff cadres can save a great deal of money by switching suppliers.
Airlines use flexible pricing to ensure that they have the right balance of profit per ticket and profit per flight. This means that they regularly change their prices according to market conditions. Finding the cheapest deals on flights without using a price comparison website is remarkably difficult. Websites like Skyscanner have risen to prominence because they allow consumers to directly compare flight prices in real-time. Just make sure to browse flight comparison sites on incognito mode to keep your price quotes stable!
The price of electrical appliances is also highly variable. This makes the electrical appliance industry ripe for price comparison websites. Cutting through the complex and often barely sensible pricing on electrical goods, price comparison websites simplify the task set out before consumers.