In a market study that launched today, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it will look into how price comparison websites operate, in order to work out if the sector is working well for consumers and determine how potential benefits can be maximised.
The CMA said that its reviews of sectors such as private motor insurance, energy and banking have highlighted how these tools can play a powerful role in increasing competition and helping consumers to find better deals.
The study will also consider concerns that have been raised about digital comparison tools (DCTs). “Some people have raised concerns about certain issues, including whether consumers can trust the information that’s available, and the study will look at these issues too,” said CMA acting chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
Coscelli highlighted the impact DCTs have had: “DCTs have played a big part in changing markets for the better, bringing new ways of doing things and forcing businesses to up their game. Consumers have benefited as choice and access to goods and services have grown.”
Additionally, she said, since they emerged around a decade ago, these tools have increased competition in markets: “They have made it easier for consumers to engage in many markets. However, they have been more successful in some sectors than others. We want to understand why this is the case and whether more can be done to ensure consumers and businesses can benefit from them more widely.”