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Asia : Potential of Price Comparison Websites

May 2, 2012 Different COMPARISON No Comments

imagePrice Comparison websites are starting to make waves in Asia, according to an article written by Nicky Burridge in Insurance Insight, Europe. While the concept is still fairly new and yet to take off in South East Asia, the first aggregator site Comparexpress.com launched in Singapore in October 2010 has planned to roll out more sites in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The group has launched a second website in Thailand, branded Gluaygluay.com in October 2011.

Price ComparisonAggregator sites play a significant role in the financial market in the UK. Such price comparison websites like Moneysupermarket.com, Confused.com, ComparetheMarket.com are very popular in selling financial products such as insurance and credit cards in the online consumer market. It is hard to imagine buying insurance without these aggregators in the UK.

In China, Baowang, which is backed by CNInsure, has started business at the beginning of this year. Similar to Comparexpress.com, Baowang offers consumer to compare prices and policy features, and also support online submission of policy applications and payment for the insurance premiums. This was possible due to a supportive regulatory environment enabled by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

In Malaysia, due to the highly regulated motor insurance market, I believe price comparison aggregators may take a while to emerge and grow with significant success. However, while waiting on the de-tariff of the motor insurance market, the aggregators can focus on other insurance products such as travel, home content and even personal accidents which are easily understood and saleable online to the digital consumers. Besides price comparisons, the site can provide feature comparisons too for consumers to compare product coverage and add-on features.

With high penetration of internet access (55% broadband household penetration in 2011) and significant time spent on internet (19.8 hours per week) in Malaysia specially on the social media, there is a potential for price financial aggregators to establish their ground in this digital savvy consumer market. Most importantly, the aggregators can utilize the social media space to attract, brand and market their products to the online consumers here. According to Nielsen Online’s finding, 60% of the time spent by typical digital consumer are on social media and blogs. In fact, there are estimated 12 million Facebook users in Malaysia now.

Either way, there is clearly a long way to go before the sites become the popular consumer tools that they now are in the UK, concluded by Nicky in the article. You may read more about views from other parties in Insurance Insight.

What do you think about Price Comparison website’s potential in Malaysia? Share with us!

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