Consumers switch over to savings

ALMOST 80% of Irish consumers who switched a product or service provider in the past year have saved money, a study reveals.

The National Consumer Agency (NCA) survey of 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 74 conducted by Amárach Research found the top three sectors for switching were car insurance, where 17% of consumers reported that they switched provider in the last 12 months, groceries (14%) and electricity supply (14%). More than 90% who switched said they found the process ‘somewhat’ or ‘very easy’.

Commenting on the results, director of research at the NCA, Maria Hurley, said the survey showed the value of shopping around.

“With costs rising in so many areas from energy to groceries and insurance, these results show that savings can be achieved with just a little effort — by shopping around and taking the steps required to move.”

“The findings show us that for the majority of people surveyed switching is an easy experience with a positive end result — receiving a better or similar service while saving money. With almost nine out of 10 respondents (88%) saving money by switching car insurance and 86% saving on their home insurance, there is a strong reason for us to find out whether alternative, cheaper, suppliers are available,” she said.

Despite the clear benefits and popularity of switching car and home insurance, electricity, phone services and groceries, the research found that other areas of spending remain largely unaffected by switching, such as savings accounts, banking services, gas suppliers and health insurance providers.

The research also looked at repeat switching for the same product or service, as well as checking on switching habits across both a 12-month and a three-year period.

The most popular categories for repeat switching were car insurance (41%), main grocery shop (49%) and convenience stores (57%), with recurrent switching for home insurance (31%) also a feature.

Irish Brokers Association chief executive Ciarán Phelan, said the results tied in with its own findings.

“When a client’s insurance policy falls for renewal, the broker automatically re-prices it across the market, usually using their web-based search facility to ensure that the client has the best deal available. It’s more difficult for consumers to perform this function themselves as not all insurance offerings are available direct to consumers and expertise is invariable required to contrast the options, particularly for insurance which isn’t a simple commodity product,” he said.

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