Well, in print, at least.
When I was nowt but a lad, the only place to find a car for sale, beyond your local garage or local classifieds, was Exchange & Mart. It was the bible for the UK car buyer. A way to get access to cars (and parts – I bought more than a few of those as a teenager fighting desperately to keep my car on the road on a none existent budget) from all over the country, and to compare prices.
But times change, and E&M has lost its market dominance to Autotrader, both in print and online. But it is the print business for E&M that is biting the dust, a victim of not just Autotrader’s better product, but the inexorable move from print publications to the Net.
The demise of E&M in print is probably the first of many publications that will go this route. The biggest of those is probably Yellow Pages, whose print directories are becoming increasingly untenable.
But the move to the Net gives publishers huge advantages. We are now in a position where the vast majority of the population in the UK has web access, and the cost advantages of running the business online instead of in print are huge.
Debra Healey, Digital Director at E&M said:
“The future is very exciting for Exchange & Mart, which is very much a loved and iconic brand.
Those that have enjoyed buying and selling vehicles and items in the magazine can continue to do so through our online product.
Buyers have the flexibility to pinpoint what they want, where they want to look throughout the UK and how much they want to spend — all without having to pay for a magazine. Private advertisers can reach an audience of nearly one million potential buyers for just £5.”
And the truth is that E&M are not even a big player for online classifieds. They have just 1.2% of the market, compared to Autotrader’s 37% and Ebay’s 18%. But it’s still a viable business model for them.
All praise the web!