Challenger energy suppliers join the “Big Six”

Research from Cornwall Insight’s Domestic market share survey for the first quarter of 2020 shows a shake-up of the rankings that is unprecedented in the survey since its launch. The completed merger of OVO Energy and SSE and organic growth from Bulb have seen the names of challenger brands sit among the largest suppliers in the domestic energy market. The graph below highlights this soar in market share by the small and medium suppliers (SaMS).

Figure 1: Dual fuel market share at 31 January 2020

Katie Hickford Analyst at Cornwall Insight said:

“After Ovo Energy took on 5.6m SSE customers, OVO Energy tripled its domestic customer base. This saw it climb to second in the domestic market share rankings, holding 14.1% dual fuel share*. OVO Energy’s dual fuel share is now 3.8pp ahead of E.ON UK which fell to third place, despite registering record organic growth individually in the first quarter of the year.

“The second major change in the “Big Six” positions saw Bulb move ahead of npower by dual-fuel accounts, ranking 6th and 7th respectively by this metric. Bulb has recorded a net gain of more than 200,000 dual fuel accounts over the last year through organic growth. It also recently acquired 9,000 customers from GnERGY through the supplier of last resort process.

“However, these positions are not expected to endure when E.ON UK takes on npower’s domestic customers. Collectively, the two suppliers held 15.9% domestic dual fuel share, which would put E.ON UK into the second position under the current customer base.

“Over the next few months, we expect to pick up the impact of COVID-19 in the supply market. Some suppliers that have previously grown through face-to-face sales may be reassessing their route to market, while others will be facing greater challenges in maintaining cashflow during this challenging period.”


Notes to Editors

* Dual fuel share refers to electricity and gas purchased on the same contract from a single supplier. It does not include single fuel customers, who purchase their energy separately