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Energy supply switching in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Due to a growth in competition and options available, switching energy suppliers has become more ubiquitous in the United Kingdom in recent years. In 2020, a survey found that roughly one-third of British consumers had switched energy suppliers in the previous 12 months. The same survey also found that the majority of switchers were not changing for the first time. However, soaring electricity and gas prices have recently threatened many small suppliers, bringing the number of domestic electricity switches to record lows in 2021.

A decade of highs and lows

The number of British customers changing their energy suppliers reached a record high in 2019, after five consecutive years of annual growth. That year, nearly six million people adopted a different electricity supplier, while some five million changed their gas supplier. But a rise in electricity prices in Great Britain starting in the months following the coronavirus outbreak put a halt to this trend. With figures already faltering in 2020, this was further aggravated in the following year.

Throughout 2021, gas and electricity prices soared across Europe. With wholesale prices reaching the government’s regulated tariff cap, and suppliers unable to offer attractive deals, the number of switches in November of that year was the lowest since records began. The rise in prices shrunk profit margins, causing almost 30 energy suppliers to go bust in the UK in 2021, which affected more than 2.7 million customers. With the reliability of small suppliers put in check, another switching trend was reversed. That year, changes between larger suppliers accounted for the largest share of domestic switches, whereas a year earlier switches from large to small and mid-tier suppliers had an indisputable lead.

Consumer motivations and concerns

In general, economic reasons are the main motivation prompting consumers in Great Britain to switch energy suppliers. According to a 2021 survey, over half of British respondents named a better tariff as the main reason for choosing a new energy supplier. Similarly, a 2020 survey found that receiving a notice for the end of a fixed-term tariff or a price increase notification were the main motivators for consumers comparing energy tariffs. On the other side of the spectrum, not saving as much as they thought was customers’ main perceived risk when switching suppliers.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Energy supply switching in the UK".

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