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Economic slowdown: Some sectors have slowed, other are doing well, says InfoEdge’s Hitesh Oberoi on Q1FY20 earnings call

InfoEdge increased marketing costs substantially in all its businesses, specifically in Naukri and Jeevansathi. Its overall marketing spend for Q1FY20 was around Rs. 55 crores, which was up 46% year-on-year, Info Edge MD and CEO Hitesh Oberoi said on a investor call on August 13.

Naukri numbers: Naukri billings was at Rs. 251.75 crores, up 19.8% year-on-year, while revenues were at Rs. 219.5 crores, a growth of 19.2% year-on-year.

  • 19,000 fresh CVs every day, and the Naukri database grew to over 64 million CVs.
  • Average CV modifications are at 360,000 CV mods per day.

Hitesh Oberoi said Naukri’s traffic share in the traditional job board is now at over 85% without Indeed, and at about 67% including Indeed. The IT and ITeS segment drove growth for Naukri last quarter, Southern markets did “phenomenally well” compared to markets in the West and North, he said. iimjobs, which Naukri had earlier acquired, reported billings of Rs. 5.7 crores, up by 22% YoY. It now operates at a near-breakeven level.

What Naukri’s competitors are upto: Indeed has been advertising aggressively for the last few quarters, but they’ve been out of the media for the last 2-3 months, said Oberoi. Naukri’s ads are more directed at consumers and job seekers, and is unlikely to impact corporate revenue in the short-run. But Naukri hope to attact more job-seekers, download, and hopes that this will translate into increased revenue as well.

Google Jobs is not really trying to monetize the platform, Naukri has not been giving its jobs on Google, but it will revisit its position from time to time, said Oberoi.

Oberoi said there hasn’t been any activity from Monster in the last few years, and they still have a long way to go, on traffic and other parameters. Naukri’s share in the job portal sspace was higher than 85% or even 88% on some months last quarter as compared to Shine, Monster, TimesJobs etc.

99Acres numbers: Traffic share among real-estate portals continues to be around 50%, said Oberoi. Almost 20,000 brokers are now active on the platform.

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Real estate market has been in trouble for a while: The real estate market continues to be in very bad shape. Some markets grew at around 25%, but some grew in single-digits. “But definitely what we are hearing from our customers is that there is a problem with financing, both for builders and for buyers of new homes. And as a result and the new launches are likely to be hit.” “The real-estate market has been through hell for the last five years, you had RERA, demonization, GST, all kinds of issues, but we have been growing every year. In fact, this quarter we sort of broke even in this business.”

The state of economy? Oberoi said hiring in IT companies continued to do well, growing at over 20%. Sectors like health care, education, services in general, except for now NBFCs and telecom services which have been hit, and so has the auto sector. SMEs are also hiring, but revenue from infrastructure sectors like construction, real-estate, etc have declined to 15-16% from 25% around 10 years ago.

Whats the affect of GDP growth on Naukri? GDP growth does impact our billing growth, said Oberoi. However,

  1. IT hiring in India may be more indexed to how the US and the rest of the world is doing.
  2. Although some sectors in India, like auto, NBFC, telecom have taken a hit, other sectors such as healthcare, education, hospitality, tourism, travel, etc continue to do well.

“I am not the best person to comment, but it doesn’t seem like it’s a slowdown like we saw in 2008 or 2009 when the entire economy hiring came to a standstill. Enough companies are still hiring, but yes, certain sectors seem to be slow.”

What is the money (for Naukti) going into? One, marketing. Second, product & technoology, data science and design capability, and hiring for these. Third, the company is looking into blue-collar jobs, and has set up a team to look at how it could “disrupt” the premium hiring market using AI and ML.

JeevanSaathi numbers: Billings in Jeevansathi grew 10.3% year-on-year to Rs. 20.11 crores. Revenue grew 9.4% year-on-year to Rs. 19.92 crores. Traffic increased due to higher marketing spend and more user registrations. “From a virtual nobody”, Jeevansaathi is doing business of Rs 20 crore a quarter in terms of collections, said Oberoi. There’s an aggressive price war in the market, and all three competitors including Shaadi.com are spending a lot of money on advertising.

Shiksha billings grew by 13.9% year-on-year to Rs. 16 crores, and revenue grew 10.7% year-on-year to Rs. 16.93 crores.

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