Retail market indicators

Retail highlights December 2021

In our monitoring of the retail energy market for gas and electricity, we collect and analyse a vast range of data. Our retail market indicators give a snapshot of this monitoring. They draw from a comprehensive framework which underpins our ongoing monitoring, including our annual update on the retail energy markets in Great Britain. You can view these updates in the related publications section below. 

These market indicators and data are not intended for use or to be relied on for any commercial purposes. View copyright and disclaimer

If you have feedback on the indicators, please contact us.

Market structure

In Q2 2021, the number of active licensed suppliers in the domestic retail market remained unchanged at 49 compared to the previous quarter. This was due to one supplier exiting the market and one entry during this period.

The market share of the large legacy suppliers dropped by two percentage points to 68% in gas and by one percentage point to 69% in electricity compared to Q1 2021. Other large, medium and small suppliers accounted for the remaining 32% and 31%, respectively in the domestic electricity and gas market.

For our classification of suppliers by size see the ‘more information’ tab of the market share indicators. 

Prices and profits

In November 2021 the market continued to experience unprecedentedly high wholesale gas prices. The price of fixed tariffs not covered by the default tariff cap have increased accordingly, while prices of variable and other default tariffs subject to the cap have generally become the cheapest deals available on the market. 

The average price of SVTs with large legacy suppliers for a typical dual fuel customer paying with direct debit has remained at £1,277, coinciding with the winter cap level.
The price of the cheapest tariff basket was stable, increasing by just £1 to £1,268. As a result, the differential between the average price of SVTs for the large legacy suppliers and the cheapest tariff basket fell from £10 to £9. This is the narrowest differential on records since we started publishing this indicator in 2012.

Switching

October 2021 saw a 20% drop compared with the previous month. This was the lowest number of total switches in a single month since January 2018. 

The number of electricity switches decreased from 436,684 to 346,228, a level 37% lower than in October 2020. Gas switches also decreased from 290,848 to 238,710, which was 42% lower than in October 2020. 

The proportion of net gains in switching away from the large legacy suppliers was 7% of total switches for gas and electricity combined, down from 10% in the previous month. This is the lowest level since October 2016.

Methodology and sources

We have selected this range of indicators to support general understanding of the market, including how they contribute to the key priorities outlined in our strategic narrative. We also aim to provide a picture of the market where it is not produced elsewhere, or where there is scope for us to set a clear methodology for the data.

Our data comes from sources that are either publicly available, provided by third parties or from responses to Ofgem information requests. Specific sources and relevant dates are listed with each indicator. We are grateful to third parties for allowing us to reproduce their data. 

Most of these indicators will be updated quarterly while still allowing access to historic information. Updates will depend on the availability of data for an indicator. 

We will review the indicators periodically to ensure they continue to help promote transparency and understanding of the retail energy market and as additional sources of information become available.