It’s time for the big reveal. And the no1 spot in this year’s Power List is… Martin Lewis, the founder of moneysavingexpert.com.
It’s a controversial choice, I admit. In second place, Tesco’s new CEO Philip Clarke presides over a business with a market capitalisation of £33bn. The market cap of Paul Polman’s Unilever is even higher: almost £60bn.
But Lewis and his hugely popular website is a symbolic selection, touching on the new power of the consumer in the age of the internet.
The consumer has always been powerful. But in today’s world, she is more powerful than ever before.
One reason is consumer choice: as we reveal in our Grocery Retail Structure report, the consumer now has a greater choice of grocery shopping options than ever before, with all the major multiples seeking to expand. But the impact of the internet is even more profound. It was moneysavingexpert that first alerted consumers to the fatal flaw in Tesco’s Double the Difference promotion via a site called Trolleychecker.com, built from the developer’s bedroom in “a few hours”.
But Trolleychecker.com is just the tip of the iceberg. Just as price comparison websites have already brought total transparency to the insurance market (and obliterated the concept of insurance brands), in our market mysupermarket.co.uk and our own supplier, BrandView.co.uk, mean that rivals (and consumers) are alerted to price changes in minutes.
Shoppers can now check prices from their laptops, or check a rival’s price in-store, via their mobile phone. There are even special iPhone apps to aid you in the process.
All the supermarkets are boasting record traffic. That’s thanks to promotions… and Martin Lewis and his mob. The consumer is shopping around for the best deal. The consumer is no longer king. She is an empress.