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UK Energy Market: Challenger brands strengthen at the cost of the Big Six

In the past few years, the UK energy market has transformed quite significantly, primarily due to the growing presence of challenger brands, which have managed to increase their market share against rivals. The two most notable players are Ovo Energy and Octopus Energy, both of which have achieved impressive growth in recent years, with the former becoming a member of the so called ‘Big Six’ in January 2020 following its acquisition of SSE.

Amid the rise of challenger brands, the UK’s ‘Big Six’ have lost some of their dominance in the market. Until January 2020, the Big Six was comprised of British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE, which together held a combined market share of 70% for electricity supply and 69% for gas supply in Great Britain, as of December 2019. There are a number of factors which have contributed to the decline of the ‘Big Six’, perhaps the most significant being the failure to implement a customer centric approach.

If challengers wish to continue to grow their customer base and gain market share, it is crucial that they retain their core values, otherwise they run the risk of losing their charm. Octopus Energy’s core selling points are that its services are both renewable and affordable. The company’s focus on renewable energy has proven to be a major selling point to UK customers, who are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of fossil fuel.