Two-thirds of Irish consumers (66%) say they plan to switch at least one of their current service or utility providers in the next 12 months. This is according to new research from independent price comparison and switching service, Switcher.ie.
In terms of specific services, one third of consumers plan to switch motor insurance (33%) and electricity (32%), while a quarter (26%) plan to switch broadband, and one in five (21%) plan to switch home insurance. Smaller numbers are planning to switch mobile phone operator (17%), TV provider (14%) and gas supplier (14%).
Consumers tend to be attracted by the prospect of better value for money, but providers don’t need to worry just yet, as the chances are many of these won’t go ahead with their intention to switch - the research shows that almost seven in ten (68%) have been thinking about switching a utility or service provider in the past but decided not to do it in the end.
This is despite the potential savings that can be made by switching, which would make a huge difference to the average Irish consumer.
The main reason people gave for not going ahead with switching was that it seemed like too much hassle (42%). Significant numbers also said they didn’t switch because they couldn’t tell if a new supplier would save them money (28%), they didn’t want to get tied into a contract (26%), and they were unsure if the product offered by the new supplier was the same as the one offered by their previous supplier (25%). One in ten (8%) are also frightened of losing their service or getting cut off.
Irish consumers tend to be very loyal to their providers - a massive two-thirds of current account customers (64%) have been with the same bank for over 10 years, with a third of home phone (34%), mobile phone (33%) and health insurance (31%) customers sticking with their providers that long. Meanwhile, a quarter of electricity (25%), digital TV (26%) and household waste (24%) customers have been with the same provider for a decade or more.
Commenting on the research, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, Eoin Clarke said, "The perception is that switching is too much hassle, but it doesn’t have to be - particularly if you use a price comparison site like Switcher.ie. For example, an energy switch only takes a few minutes, and could save you up to €290. And although signing a new contract may seem daunting, energy, broadband and TV, and mobile phone contracts are generally 12-24 months long - and there’s a 14-day cooling-off period if you sign up and then change your mind. If that’s still too much for you, remember that some SIM-only mobile deals, broadband and TV plans and most streaming services have just 30-day contracts, which gives you loads of freedom."
He added, "The most important thing to know is that simply sticking with an existing supplier - particularly if you’ve been with them for a long time already - will frequently land you with a higher bill than if you shopped around. We’d strongly advise customers to set aside some time to take a look at all of their household bills and shop around for new deals - an hour or two of work will pay huge dividends and could free up some much-needed cash."