There is a significant improvement in traffic & industries are opening-up: Dinesh Agarwal, IndiaMART
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART, talks about COVID impact, business and revenue growth among others during an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business.
Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART, talks about COVID impact, business and revenue growth among others during an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business. Edited Excerpts:
Q: What kind of surge has been seen in the business during this pandemic in percentage terms? Going forward, what kind of activity is visible?
A: First of all, I would like to clarify, we don’t sell any product. We are an e-commerce marketplace where around 60 lakh SMEs have listed there around 6-7 crore products. We have around 100 million buyers who browse through those products in more than 1 lakh categories and more than 1,000 towns and cities. So, when the pandemic started in the last week of March and in April, the traffic went down by almost 50%. In the complete last quarter, we saw that on a week-on-week (WoW) basis there was an improvement in traffic and by the end of the quarter the traffic was up by around 6% and the number of inquiries was up about 16%. Even after that when lockdown started opening up and things opened sector-wise since then traffic has also improved. But there are still some sectors that are in permanent trouble, like sectors related to hospitality and tourism.
So, the sector that has benefitted the most or you can say that which were needed at that time, like medical sector, safety sector, infection & chemical items, food supply and mask among others, were not available or there were problems related to their availability. So, the biggest challenge before IndiaMART was to increase the availability of those items and how to reconnect with our 60 lakh suppliers either by calling them or through an email and ask them how you can make these products. At that point, the big challenge for us was to know about the safety measures and medicines among others that will be needed to protect India from CORONA and make them available during the lockdown. Now, it seems that the traffic has improved a lot and industries are opening gradually.
Q: Do you think that the pandemic has bottomed-out? What kind of revenue growth do you expect for Q2 and Q3?
A: We don’t provide any guidance on revenue growth but if you understand our business model then we sell a subscription, advertising subscription, which is provided for a month, a year and three years for which collection is made in advance. That’s why if you have a look at our financials then it starts with collection from customers, which is followed by differed revenue and revenue from operations. So, if you have a look at the June quarter than our revenue from operations had increased by around 3-4%, but a collection from customers went down significantly. Collection from customers is a top-line figure for us, which we track. As I have said earlier that is improving on a week-on-week basis. So, we hope that it will reach to the pre-COVID levels in coming quarters.
Q: Few large players seek to connect with you to expand their e-commerce footprints. Can you please share something about it with us?
A: A lot of big brands have associated with us in the last two-three years. If you have a look on the generator category or truck category or hospital equipment category then you will see that many MNCs and many listed companies from India have associated with us as they want to increase their digital footprint through IndiaMART. Maybe, they haven't found any better solution than IndiaMART to expand themselves in the B2B (Business to Business) segment in the market. Possibly, normal advertising does not work, while traditional advertising does not have such a reach or is not cost-effective in the small cities, where their products are in demand. Targeted advertising and lead generation happen at IndiaMART, which helps you to connect directly with your business consumer. That is why big brands and companies are associating with us.
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