2021 is becoming a huge year for switching in the home services market, says Julie Harris, CEO of Comparison Tech.

The pandemic has changed our lives in ways we could never have possibly imagined at the beginning of last year: home schooling and working, staying local and different spending habits, to name just a few.

COVID-19 has also meant consumers are using home services like never before. UK internet use more than doubled in 2020 and, at the height of last year’s first lockdown, adults spent 40% of their waking hours in front of a screen – up almost a third on the previous year.

Being at home and away from offices meant the UK spent a staggering £1.9billion extra on gas and electricity over this winter alone, according to Energy Helpline data. Consumers have had to endure rising Direct Debits to match increased energy use, just as the regulator Ofgem sanctioned price rises which are now affecting ten million homes.

However, increasing pressure on household finances has also meant that the appetite for switching has grown. The pandemic has led consumers to think far more about the price and quality of essential home services – including spurring many who haven’t switched for years, if at all, to engage with the market and to realise how easy it is to change tariff or provider.

At the same time, huge numbers of people are moving home as a result of the Stamp Duty holiday and increased demand for property away from town and city centres as we reassess our work/life balance. Moving into a new flat or house is a big driver for consumers to run a comparison and switch, and we are seeing increased demand as a direct result. And, with many of the best deals fixed for a set time period, we look forward to welcoming back those customers when they’re ready to switch again.

I believe the surge in demand for switching, as a result of the pandemic, is here to stay this year and beyond. I’m immensely proud of the work of the Comparison Tech teams, day in day out, online and over the phone, connecting consumers to brilliant deals and the positive impact it has on the lives of customers, right across the country.

Julie Harris is CEO of Comparison Tech