It's now been six months since the water market opened to competition for non-household customers; this now allows businesses to shop around for their water provider.
We've mentioned in the past, through blog posts and social media, that we conducted a piece of research into how SMEs perceive this change in the way they can purchase their water. We were very pleased with the survey results, and have continued to monitor the water industry closely. So when the CEO of MOSL released his second quarterly review of how the water industry is doing, we were intrigued to read his thoughts.
The main headlines from said report included:
- 2.3% of the 2.7 million supply points in England have switched water retailer
- This equates to 61,311 supply points switches (supply points being business premises)
- Switches away from the largest five retailers accounted for around 70% of the total number of switches, indicating a similar trend to that of switches away from the big names in the energy markets
- There are now 35 water retailers, and 25 water wholesalers in the market
- The focus for the future is digital, and how to utilise the digital tools for the benefit of the market
- The majority of the total switching activity comes from smaller businesses, consuming less than 1,000 litres of water per day, such as a pub, local shop or hairdresser.
When we conducted our research back in July 2017, we specifically targeted SMEs knowing they make up over 99% of all businesses in the UK, and could be affected by the changes but not necessarily the focus of water market players. They all want the big clients, those that use many thousands of litres a day, but with so many SMEs in England, were they really being targeted or informed about the changes? Our research showed that it was a fairly even split between those that knew about the changes, and those that did not.
So when the quarterly review from MOSL showed that 'M1' and 'M2' business profiles made up 62% of the total switching activity, it indicated to us just how important SMEs have been to the switching success of the water market. If these smaller profiles had been excluded from switching ability, the percentage of switches would be significantly lower. In a time when some experts are questioning the overall successs, and other priaising the stats, it is genuinely pleasing to see that SME behaviour has made all the difference in this industry.
Source: MOSL, CEO Quarterly Market Review, 26th October 2017.