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Utilities Growth as Winter Sets In

Hitwise NZ Press Release

Utilities Growth as Winter Sets In

Auckland April 24, 2006. According to Hitwise, the world’s leading online competitive intelligence service, visits to the Business and Finance – Utilities category reached a 15-month high for the week ending April 15, 2006, with a market share increase of 77.8% compared to the corresponding week last year. Concerns about hydro lake levels amidst peak electricity demand have prompted Kiwis to investigate energy options online.

Much of the utilities category growth was driven by Genesis Energy (www.genesisenergy.co.nz) which grew by 104.2% between January 7, 2006 and April 15, 2006. Genesis Energy replaced Trust Power (www.trustpower.co.nz) as the leading utility website for the week ending February 25, 2006 and has since maintained its position.

Hitwise Clickstream data indicates the Genesis Energy received almost half of its traffic from search engines, with 47.6% for the week ending April 15, 2006, significantly higher than the industry average of 35%. Search analysis showed that ‘genesis energy’ was the top search term to the Utilities category, indicating that the state-owned enterprise has a strong brand presence as an energy retailer amongst consumers.

Consumer behaviour online indicates a propensity for Kiwis to engage in comparison shopping across energy providers. Downstream traffic from the Utilities category show that 12% of traffic went to other utility websites for the week ending April 15, 2006. Consumer Online, which offers a comparison service for electricity prices (www.consumer.org.nz/powerswitch) reached a 15-month peak in market share across all categories week ending March 25, 2006. Consumer Online is currently the top Community website.

Given the competitive nature of electricity retail, energy providers have the opportunity to capture consumer churn through their online research habits. As search engines account for over a third of visits to the industry online, optimising on popular search terms remains a key strategy. There were 1232 variations on the search term, ‘energy’ for the 24 weeks ending April 15, 2006 with non-branded terms including: ‘solar energy’, ‘latest energy prices’, ‘energy conservation’, and ‘renewable energy’.


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