UK corporate websites continue to perform below the European average
We have ranked the corporate websites of the UK's 200 largest companies to evaluate how well they meet the needs and expectations of their stakeholders, such as analysts, investors, jobseekers, and the media. A conclusion that can be drawn is that UK companies continue to struggle to keep up with their European peers. It is mainly the information provided about the companies' shares that is lacking, for example, not many companies provide dividend policies.
In this year's Webranking results, UK companies continue to perform under the European average. UK companies fulfilled on average 38% of all criteria while the European average is 44%.
Five years ago (2016-2017), UK results were almost on par with Europe 500. Since then the gap has increased, peaking last year. This year UK companies have improved slightly by 2%, however, the explanation to this might be as simple as the fact that there were fewer, but larger companies in the list. This year we analysed the 200 largest companies compared to 286 last year. The average market cap was around 12 B EUR vs 6 last year, meaning that the smaller companies tend to get a lower score.
Biggest area for improvements - information about the share
The information provided about the companies' shares is the area where UK companies perform worst compared to their European peers, on average by -10 %. For example, UK companies do not provide information about major shareholders and responsible investors - something that 88% of the respondents in our Capital Market Survey find important. Information about share capital development and estimates from the analysts that are following the companies is also missing. Dividend policies are also something that is more rarely found on UK websites. As 91% of the respondents of our Capital Market Survey find dividend policies important, it is concerning that not many UK companies provide this information. Of all 200 ranked companies, 156 do not provide a dividend policy on their corporate websites.
UK companies perform closest to the European average in Webranking's Features and functionalities section, which includes criteria about the website's technical performance as well as navigation and layout principles. UK companies perform especially well in the site architecture and navigation section, scoring slightly above the European average on all criteria. The best-performing companies in this section are BP, Unilever, and HSBC.
HSBC's website has a clean and consistent layout. The landing pages of each section are clearly divided into blocks linking to more information.
Good media archives
One of the UK companies' better areas is their media archives where they perform above the European average. Companies that perform especially well in this criterion are British Land, AstraZeneca and Next.
British Land's media centre contains press releases, news as well as insights from their blog. It also contains the latest posts from their social media channels.
This year, Royal Dutch Shell have taken BP's place as number one on the UK list while BP finish as number two. New in the top three section is Vodafone Group who have taken Coca-Cola HBC's place as number three. Coca-Cola HBC come in fifth place this year. The best climber is Trainline who have improved their score by 13.2 points, thanks to improved sustainability and careers information.