Russell Quirk has admitted his predictions about the online agency sector were wrong.
Emoov founder Quirk predicted in 2013 that online agents would have a 35% share of the agency market within five years ie, by 2018.
He now says it will be no more than 10%.
A decade on from launching Emoov – which has since entered administration and been relaunched with a different owner – Quirk, now concentrating on public relations, warns that online agents suffer from being seen as “too cheap” or “too good to be true”.
He said: “In 2009 I launched Emoov and I have rarely been so passionate about an idea or a project. The internet was disrupting everything.
“Every industry and every sector – giving birth to greater and greater numbers of pioneering start-ups. The ‘Amazonification’ of everything was upon us – Choice. Value. Immediacy. Service. These were all better able to be served digitally.
“I researched travel, retail, online grocery delivery, insurance – and also witnessed the relentless rise and rise of digital property search via the portals. I saw that each sector, albeit at different stages, was either at a 50%+ market share of online vs ‘bricks ans mortar’ or was well on its way to that level.
“Therefore, estate agency had to follow the inevitable and I began to evangelise within the property industry that ‘online estate agency will command a market share of 35% within five years’.
“Because that’s what the world was seeing everywhere else. Sure enough, later entrants to the space began to repeat my mantra over and over so that eventually it became pseudo-fact and was adopted as the threshold that was enthused to media, staff, potential customers and investors.”
He has now written in a LinkedIn post: “I was wrong.”
His new prediction is that online agents won’t get beyond 10% market share.
Quirk said: “Of course, my predictions have been wrong before. But now, longer in tooth and with many battle scars to demonstrate my experience, I reckon this forecast is most likely to prevail.”
EYE queried if his article meant Quirk, founder of Properganda PR, is preparing to re-enter the agency market.
He said: “PropergandaPR is seeing considerable success already and it’s important to focus on that – our many new clients and achieving substantial media coverage for them.
“But after 25 years on both sides of the industry, I do have estate agency ‘built-in’ and therefore it will always be very close to my heart. And my knowledge and experiences will, I hope, prove to be valuable to the journeys of others too.”