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Zillow: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jun 22, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into an in-depth analysis of Zillow's business model, its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis), and its key competitors as of 2023. Zillow, a leading online real estate marketplace, has revolutionized the way people buy, sell, and rent properties. By exploring its innovative business model, we will gain insights into how Zillow has disrupted the traditional real estate industry. Additionally, by examining its SWOT analysis and identifying its major competitors, we can better understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Zillow in the ever-evolving real estate market.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Zillow and how its ownership structure impacts the company's operations and decision-making processes.
    • The mission statement of Zillow and how it guides the company's strategic goals and initiatives.
    • How Zillow generates revenue and the various methods it employs to monetize its platform and services.
    • An explanation of the Zillow Business Model Canvas, including the key components and how they contribute to the company's overall success.
    • An overview of Zillow's main competitors in the real estate industry and how they stack up against Zillow in terms of market share and offerings.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of Zillow, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the real estate market.

    Who owns Zillow?

    Zillow's Ownership Structure

    Zillow, the leading online real estate marketplace, has a fairly diverse ownership structure. The company's ownership is primarily held by institutional investors, mutual funds, and individual shareholders. Let's take a closer look at the key stakeholders who own a significant portion of Zillow.

    Co-Founders and Executives

    Zillow was founded in 2006 by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, who remain actively involved in the company. Both Barton and Frink have significant ownership stakes in Zillow, with Barton serving as the CEO and Frink as the Executive Chairman. As major stakeholders, their decisions and strategic direction greatly influence the company's operations.

    Institutional Investors

    Institutional investors such as investment firms and pension funds have a significant presence in Zillow's ownership structure. Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and Fidelity Investments are among the largest institutional shareholders, collectively holding millions of shares. These institutional investors provide stability and long-term support to the company.

    Mutual Funds

    Several mutual funds also hold a substantial stake in Zillow. T. Rowe Price, Capital Research and Management, and Wellington Management Company are some of the prominent mutual funds that have invested in the company. These funds provide retail investors with exposure to Zillow's potential growth and diversification in their investment portfolios.

    Individual Shareholders

    Individual shareholders, including retail investors, also own a portion of Zillow's shares. These shareholders are everyday people who have purchased Zillow's stock through brokerage accounts. Although individual shareholders may not hold as significant a stake as institutional investors, their collective ownership contributes to the overall ownership landscape of the company.


    Zillow's ownership structure is characterized by a diverse mix of co-founders, executives, institutional investors, mutual funds, and individual shareholders. This broad ownership base highlights the market appeal and widespread interest in the company's innovative real estate platform. With a range of stakeholders influencing the company's direction, Zillow is well-positioned to continue its growth and shape the future of the real estate industry.

    What is the mission statement of Zillow?

    The Mission Statement of Zillow

    Zillow, the leading online real estate marketplace, has a clear and concise mission statement that drives its operations and goals. The company's mission statement is focused on empowering consumers with information and tools to make smarter decisions about homes.

    Zillow's mission statement is: "To build the largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace in the world."

    This mission statement reflects Zillow's commitment to providing a comprehensive platform that meets the diverse needs of home buyers, sellers, renters, and homeowners. By aspiring to be the largest marketplace, Zillow aims to create a network where individuals can find everything related to homes in one place, eliminating the need to browse multiple websites or rely on traditional channels.

    The emphasis on trust is a crucial aspect of Zillow's mission statement. The company understands that real estate transactions are significant life decisions, and it strives to build trust with its users by providing accurate and reliable information. Zillow achieves this through its robust database of listings, detailed property data, and transparent user reviews.

    Zillow's mission statement also highlights its ambition to create a vibrant marketplace. The company recognizes that the real estate industry is constantly evolving, and it aims to stay ahead of the curve by adapting to new technologies and consumer demands. Zillow's platform offers various tools and features that enable users to explore properties, estimate home values, connect with local real estate professionals, and even apply for mortgage loans.

    In summary, Zillow's mission statement encapsulates its dedication to becoming the go-to platform for all things related to homes. By building the largest, most trusted, and vibrant home-related marketplace, Zillow aims to empower consumers worldwide and revolutionize the way people buy, sell, rent, and own properties.

    How does Zillow make money?


    One of the primary ways that Zillow generates revenue is through advertising. The platform offers various advertising options for real estate agents, property management companies, and mortgage lenders to promote their services and listings. These advertisements are prominently displayed on Zillow's website and mobile app, reaching millions of users searching for properties and related services.

    Zillow's advertising options include featured listings, which allow agents to highlight specific properties at the top of search results, increasing their visibility and chances of attracting potential buyers. Additionally, agents can purchase display ads that appear alongside property details or on specific pages within the website. These ads enable real estate professionals to reach a targeted audience and generate leads.

    Premier Agent Program

    Another significant source of revenue for Zillow is its Premier Agent program. Real estate agents can sign up for this program to receive exclusive leads generated from Zillow's platform. When users inquire about a property or request more information, their contact details are forwarded to Premier Agents in the area. Agents then pay a fee to Zillow for these leads, allowing them to connect with potential clients who are actively interested in buying or selling properties.

    The Premier Agent program offers different subscription levels, with higher-tier agents receiving more prominent placement and increased visibility on Zillow's search results pages. This competitive advantage helps agents increase their chances of receiving leads and closing deals, making the program an attractive option for many real estate professionals.

    Zillow Offers

    Zillow's foray into the iBuying market with its Zillow Offers service has also become a significant revenue stream for the company. Zillow Offers allows homeowners to sell their properties directly to Zillow, streamlining the traditional home-selling process. Zillow then makes any necessary repairs or updates before reselling the property on the market.

    By purchasing homes directly from sellers, Zillow can generate revenue through the difference between the price it pays for the property and the price at which it eventually sells. Additionally, Zillow may charge sellers additional fees, such as service charges or transaction fees, to cover the costs associated with the buying and selling process.

    Mortgage Marketplace

    Zillow's Mortgage Marketplace is another avenue for revenue generation. Through this platform, users can compare mortgage rates and connect with lenders who offer mortgage pre-approvals and financing options. Lenders pay Zillow for each lead they receive through the Mortgage Marketplace, making it a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties.

    The Mortgage Marketplace provides users with transparency and convenience when searching for mortgage options, while lenders benefit from the exposure to a large pool of potential borrowers. With the mortgage industry being highly competitive, Zillow's Mortgage Marketplace offers lenders the opportunity to reach a targeted audience actively seeking mortgage services.

    In conclusion, Zillow generates revenue through various avenues, including advertising, its Premier Agent program, Zillow Offers, and its Mortgage Marketplace. These revenue streams enable Zillow to provide its users with a comprehensive real estate platform while also driving profitability for the company.

    Zillow Business Model Canvas Explained

    Introduction to Zillow's Business Model Canvas

    Zillow, the popular online real estate marketplace, has been revolutionizing the way people buy, sell, and rent properties since its inception in 2006. At the core of Zillow's success lies its well-designed and strategic business model canvas. In this section, we will delve deeper into the key components of Zillow's business model canvas and explore how they contribute to the company's overall success.

    Key Partnerships

    One of the essential elements of Zillow's business model canvas is its extensive network of key partnerships. Zillow collaborates with various stakeholders in the real estate industry to provide comprehensive and accurate property listings to its users. These partnerships include real estate agents, brokers, Multiple Listing Services (MLS), and property management companies. By working closely with these partners, Zillow ensures a constant influx of high-quality listings, giving users access to a vast array of properties.

    Key Activities

    Zillow's key activities revolve around creating and maintaining its online platform, developing innovative technologies, and providing exceptional customer service. The company invests heavily in developing advanced algorithms and data analytics tools to accurately estimate the value of properties, known as Zestimates. These estimates help users make informed decisions about buying or selling properties. Additionally, Zillow continually enhances its user experience by incorporating user feedback and implementing new features that simplify the real estate process.

    Value Proposition

    Zillow's value proposition lies in its ability to empower users with valuable information and tools to make informed real estate decisions. By offering a user-friendly interface, detailed property information, and advanced search functionalities, Zillow simplifies the process of finding and evaluating properties. Moreover, Zillow provides unique features like Zestimates, which assist users in estimating the value of properties, enabling them to compare and negotiate prices effectively. Overall, Zillow's value proposition centers around making the real estate market more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

    Customer Segments

    Zillow targets two primary customer segments: home buyers and sellers, and real estate professionals. Home buyers and sellers utilize Zillow's platform to search for properties, access market trends, estimate property values, and connect with real estate agents. Real estate professionals, on the other hand, benefit from Zillow's extensive network by gaining exposure for their listings, connecting with potential clients, and leveraging Zillow's tools and data to enhance their business.

    Revenue Streams

    Zillow generates revenue through various streams, primarily derived from advertising and subscriptions. Real estate agents and brokers pay to advertise their listings prominently on Zillow's platform, ensuring maximum visibility to potential buyers. Additionally, Zillow offers premium services to real estate professionals, such as enhanced listings and access to exclusive tools and analytics, through its subscription-based program called Zillow Premier Agent.


    Zillow's business model canvas is a testament to its success in revolutionizing the real estate industry. By strategically leveraging key partnerships, engaging in essential activities, providing a unique value proposition, targeting specific customer segments, and diversifying its revenue streams, Zillow has established itself as a dominant player in the online real estate marketplace. Through continuous innovation and a customer-centric approach, Zillow continues to shape the future of real estate, making it easier and more accessible for everyone involved.

    Which companies are the competitors of Zillow?


    One of the main competitors of Zillow is Redfin, a real estate brokerage company that operates a website and mobile app providing users with listings of homes for sale or rent. Redfin offers similar services to Zillow, including property search, home valuation estimates, and agent services. However, Redfin differentiates itself by employing its own team of real estate agents who work on salary, rather than traditional commission-based agents.


    Realtor.com is another significant competitor of Zillow, offering a comprehensive platform for buying, selling, and renting real estate properties. Owned by the National Association of Realtors, Realtor.com provides users with access to millions of listings across the United States. While both Zillow and Realtor.com offer similar features such as property search and home valuation tools, Realtor.com emphasizes its direct connection to licensed real estate professionals.


    Trulia, acquired by Zillow in 2015, was once a notable competitor in the real estate market. Prior to the acquisition, Trulia offered a platform for users to search for homes, find local information, and connect with real estate agents. While Trulia's brand and website have since been integrated into Zillow, it remains worth mentioning as one of the companies that once competed against Zillow.


    Homes.com is an online real estate platform that provides users with access to millions of residential property listings in the United States. Similar to Zillow, Homes.com offers a variety of tools and resources for home buyers, sellers, and renters. While Homes.com may not have the same level of brand recognition as Zillow, it remains a notable competitor in the real estate industry.

    Coldwell Banker

    Coldwell Banker is a real estate brokerage franchise with a large network of independently owned and operated offices worldwide. While not a direct online competitor like the aforementioned companies, Coldwell Banker represents a significant player in the traditional real estate market. With a strong presence and reputation, Coldwell Banker's agents and offices continue to compete with Zillow and other online platforms for clients and listings.

    It's important to note that the real estate industry is vast and constantly evolving, with new players emerging regularly. While these companies represent some of the main competitors of Zillow, it's essential for Zillow to stay ahead of the curve and continuously innovate to maintain its position in the market.

    Zillow SWOT Analysis


    Zillow, the leading online real estate marketplace, possesses several key strengths that have contributed to its success in the industry.

    1. Brand Recognition: Zillow has established a strong brand presence and is widely recognized as a trusted source of real estate information. This brand recognition gives the company a competitive advantage by attracting a large user base and building trust among buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.

    2. Extensive Data and Listings: Zillow offers a vast database of real estate listings, providing users with a comprehensive view of the market. The platform allows users to access detailed property information, including photos, virtual tours, and historical data, empowering them to make informed decisions when buying or selling a property.

    3. Innovative Technology: Zillow's technological capabilities set it apart from traditional real estate agents and other online platforms. The company has invested heavily in developing innovative tools and features, such as Zestimate (an automated home valuation tool) and 3D home tours, which enhance the user experience and differentiate Zillow from its competitors.

    4. Diverse Revenue Streams: Zillow has successfully diversified its revenue streams beyond advertising. In addition to generating revenue from agents and brokers who advertise on its platform, the company also offers various services, including mortgage lending, rentals, and home improvement referrals. This diversification provides Zillow with multiple sources of income and reduces its dependence on a single revenue stream.


    Despite its strengths, Zillow also faces certain weaknesses that could pose challenges to its growth and market position.

    1. Reliance on Advertising Revenue: While Zillow has diversified its revenue streams, it still heavily relies on advertising revenue from real estate agents and brokers. This dependence on advertising makes the company vulnerable to fluctuations in the real estate market and changes in advertising spending patterns. A downturn in the housing market or a decrease in advertising budgets could have a significant impact on Zillow's financial performance.

    2. Accuracy of Zestimates: Zillow's automated home valuation tool, Zestimate, has received criticism for its accuracy. The algorithm used to calculate Zestimates may not always reflect the true value of a property, leading to discrepancies and potential dissatisfaction among users. This weakness could undermine the credibility of Zillow's valuation estimates and impact user trust in the platform.

    3. Competition from Traditional Real Estate Agents: Despite its technological advancements, Zillow still faces competition from traditional real estate agents who provide personalized services and local expertise. Some buyers and sellers may prefer the guidance and support of a human agent rather than relying solely on an online platform. Zillow needs to continuously innovate and improve its offerings to remain competitive in this space.


    Zillow has identified several opportunities that could further expand its market reach and revenue potential.

    1. International Expansion: Zillow is primarily focused on the U.S. real estate market, but there is a significant opportunity to expand globally. As the demand for international real estate investment grows, Zillow could leverage its technology and brand recognition to enter new markets and cater to a broader audience.

    2. Diversification into Additional Services: Zillow has already diversified its revenue streams with mortgage lending, rentals, and home improvement referrals. However, there is still room to explore additional services that complement the home buying and selling process. For example, Zillow could consider offering property management services or partnering with moving companies to provide a comprehensive solution for homeowners.

    3. Partnerships with Real Estate Professionals: Collaborating with real estate agents and brokers can be mutually beneficial for Zillow and these professionals. By forming strategic partnerships, Zillow can enhance its platform's offerings by leveraging the expertise and local market knowledge of these professionals. This could attract more agents to advertise on Zillow and provide users with a more personalized experience, strengthening Zillow's market position.


    Zillow operates in a highly competitive and dynamic market, which exposes it to various threats that could impact its growth and profitability.

    1. Competitive Landscape: Zillow faces intense competition from other online real estate platforms, such as Redfin and Realtor.com, as well as traditional real estate agents. These competitors are constantly innovating and striving to attract users, which could potentially erode Zillow's market share if it fails to differentiate itself or keep up with industry trends.

    2. Regulatory Changes: The real estate industry is subject to regulatory changes at both the federal and state levels. Any new regulations or changes to existing laws could affect Zillow's operations and increase compliance costs. Additionally, changes in tax laws or government housing policies may impact the demand for real estate and subsequently impact Zillow's revenue.

    3. Economic Factors: Zillow's performance is closely tied to the overall health of the economy and the real estate market. Economic downturns, fluctuations in interest rates, or changes in consumer spending patterns can significantly impact the demand for real estate and affect Zillow's revenue and profitability.

    In conclusion, while Zillow has several strengths that have propelled its success, it also faces weaknesses, threats, and challenges in an increasingly competitive market. By capitalizing on opportunities and addressing weaknesses, Zillow can continue to innovate and maintain its market leadership position in the online real estate industry.

    Key Takeaways

    • Zillow is owned by its co-founders, Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, along with other major shareholders.
    • The mission statement of Zillow is to "build the largest, most trusted and vibrant home-related marketplace in the world."
    • Zillow primarily generates revenue through advertising and subscription services for real estate professionals.
    • The Zillow Business Model Canvas encompasses key elements such as value proposition, customer segments, channels, revenue streams, and cost structure.
    • Competitors of Zillow include real estate websites such as Redfin, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Homes.com.
    • Zillow's SWOT analysis highlights its strengths in brand recognition and market dominance, weaknesses in reliance on advertising revenue, opportunities in expanding services, and threats from competitors and potential economic downturns.


    In conclusion, Zillow is a leading online real estate marketplace that has revolutionized the way people buy, sell, and rent properties. As for who owns Zillow, it is a publicly traded company, with various institutional and individual shareholders.

    Zillow's mission statement is to "build the largest, most trusted, and vibrant home-related marketplace in the world." Their goal is to empower consumers with information and tools to make smarter real estate decisions.

    The primary source of revenue for Zillow comes from advertising and lead generation. Real estate professionals pay to advertise their listings on the platform, and Zillow also offers additional advertising products and services. Additionally, they generate revenue through their mortgage marketplace and rental listings.

    The Zillow Business Model Canvas provides a comprehensive overview of how the company creates, delivers, and captures value. It highlights the key activities, resources, partners, and customer segments that drive Zillow's success.

    Zillow faces competition from various companies in the real estate industry. Some of the major competitors include Redfin, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Apartments.com. These companies offer similar online real estate services, and while Zillow has established a strong presence, the competition remains fierce.

    In analyzing Zillow's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it is evident that the company has a strong brand, a vast user base, and a wide range of services. However, they also face challenges such as increasing competition, potential regulatory changes, and dependence on advertising revenue.

    Overall, Zillow has proven to be a dominant force in the real estate market, continuously evolving its business model to meet the changing needs of consumers. With its mission to empower individuals in their real estate decisions, Zillow is well-positioned for future growth and success.


    What is a SWOT analysis in real estate industry?

    A SWOT analysis in the real estate industry is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a real estate business or project. It helps in assessing the current state of the business, identifying factors that can impact its success, and developing strategies to maximize opportunities and minimize risks. Here is a breakdown of each component:

    1. Strengths: These are the internal positive factors that give the real estate business a competitive advantage. It could include factors such as a strong brand reputation, experienced team, prime locations, diverse property portfolio, or excellent customer service.

    2. Weaknesses: These are the internal negative factors that hinder the success of the real estate business. It could include factors such as limited financial resources, lack of market knowledge, poor infrastructure, outdated technology, or high employee turnover.

    3. Opportunities: These are the external factors that can be leveraged to create growth and success. It could include factors such as emerging market trends, favorable government policies, population growth, low competition in certain areas, or new real estate investment opportunities.

    4. Threats: These are the external factors that can negatively impact the real estate business. It could include factors such as economic downturns, changing market conditions, increased competition, regulatory changes, environmental factors, or rising interest rates.

    By conducting a SWOT analysis, real estate businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of their internal and external factors, enabling them to make informed decisions, develop effective strategies, and remain competitive in the industry.

    What is the strategy of Zillow?

    Zillow's strategy is primarily focused on disrupting the traditional real estate industry by leveraging technology and data to provide users with comprehensive and transparent information about homes, rentals, and mortgages. Key elements of Zillow's strategy include:

    1. Online real estate marketplace: Zillow serves as an online platform that connects buyers, sellers, renters, and real estate professionals. It allows users to search for properties, view listings, and connect with agents. This strategy aims to simplify the home buying and selling process by providing a centralized platform for all real estate-related activities.

    2. Data-driven insights: Zillow collects and aggregates vast amounts of data on real estate properties, home values, and market trends. By analyzing this data, Zillow provides users with insights and tools to make informed decisions. This includes Zestimate, an algorithm-based estimate of a home's value, and market reports that offer comprehensive local market data.

    3. Advertising and lead generation: Zillow generates revenue through advertising and lead generation for real estate agents and mortgage lenders. Agents and lenders can advertise their services on Zillow's platform, and Zillow provides leads to them based on user inquiries. This strategy allows Zillow to monetize its large user base and generate significant advertising revenue.

    4. Expansion into related services: Zillow has expanded its offerings beyond home buying and selling. It acquired Trulia, a real estate search platform, and HotPads, a rental marketplace, to broaden its reach. Zillow also provides mortgage services through its division, Zillow Home Loans. These expansions aim to provide a comprehensive suite of services to cater to various real estate needs.

    5. Technology and innovation: Zillow invests heavily in technology and innovation to enhance its user experience and differentiate itself from traditional real estate players. This includes developing advanced algorithms for property valuation, virtual tours, and 3D home tours. Zillow has also experimented with iBuying, a service that allows homeowners to sell their homes directly to Zillow for a quick cash offer.

    Overall, Zillow's strategy revolves around using technology, data, and innovation to disrupt and transform the real estate industry, providing users with a seamless and transparent experience throughout the home buying, selling, and renting processes.

    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Company website: Start by visiting the company's official website. Many companies include a section on their website that provides information about their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Look for sections such as "About Us," "Investor Relations," or "Corporate Profile" that may contain this information.

    2. Business databases: Utilize business databases such as Bloomberg, Hoover's, or MarketLine to access SWOT analysis reports on various companies. These platforms often require a subscription or access through a library or educational institution.

    3. Annual reports: Publicly traded companies are required to release annual reports that often contain a section discussing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These reports can be found on the company's website under sections like "Investor Relations" or "Financials."

    4. Online business publications: Many online business publications, such as Forbes, Business Insider, or Bloomberg, publish articles or reports analyzing companies and their SWOT factors. Use search engines to find articles specifically related to the company you are interested in.

    5. Business research reports: Research firms, such as IBISWorld or MarketResearch.com, often provide detailed reports on various industries and companies within those industries. These reports frequently include SWOT analysis sections.

    6. Business school libraries: If you have access to a university or business school library, they often provide access to various business databases and resources that can help you find SWOT analysis reports on specific companies.

    Remember, a SWOT analysis is a subjective analysis, so it's essential to consider multiple sources and perspectives to get a comprehensive understanding of a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    What is a SWOT analysis for a site location?

    A SWOT analysis for a site location is an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with a specific site or location for a business or project. It helps evaluate the suitability and potential of a site and provides insights into the factors that may impact its success. Here's how each component of the SWOT analysis can be applied to a site location:

    1. Strengths: These are the positive attributes or advantages of the site location that can contribute to its success. This may include factors such as a strategic location, easy accessibility, proximity to target markets or transportation hubs, availability of necessary infrastructure, favorable regulations or incentives, etc.

    2. Weaknesses: These are the negative aspects or limitations of the site location that may pose challenges or risks. This could include factors such as high competition in the area, lack of necessary infrastructure, limited parking or storage space, poor visibility, proximity to potential hazards or risks, etc.

    3. Opportunities: These are external factors or trends that may create favorable conditions for the site location. This may include factors such as growing demand for specific products or services in the area, emerging markets or customer segments, changes in regulations or policies that benefit the business, availability of skilled labor, partnerships or collaborations with local organizations, etc.

    4. Threats: These are external factors or risks that may pose challenges or obstacles to the site location's success. This could include factors such as fierce competition from existing businesses, economic downturns or recessions, changing consumer preferences or trends, potential legal or political issues, environmental or natural disaster risks, etc.

    By conducting a SWOT analysis for a site location, businesses or project planners can gain a comprehensive understanding of the site's potential and challenges. This analysis can guide decision-making, help identify areas for improvement or mitigation, and inform strategies to maximize the site's advantages while minimizing its weaknesses and threats.

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