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‘Takes decades to build a strong B2B platform’: IndiaMART CEO on Justdial competition

“Justdial has historically been a good company in the telephone-based directory market. However, B2B markets experience strong network effects — it’s not a one or two quarter game, and it takes decades to build a strong B2B platform,” said Dinesh Agarwal, CEO and MD of B2B marketplace IndiaMART. Agarwal was responding to an investor’s query during a call with investors on Tuesday to discuss the company’s Q2 performance, about how IndiaMART viewed Justdial launching its own B2B marketplace — JD Mart. The company saw a jump of 706% over last year in net profit, as it raked in ₹70 crore, as opposed to ₹9 crore last year.

Despite the new competition, Agarwal said that IndiaMART doesn’t see any immediate need to increase its advertising spending for increasing customers or platform traffic. “In any case, we don’t see advertising as a means to acquire traffic or customers. Advertising only helps in brand recall,” he added.

IndiaMART registered a traffic growth of 32% YoY with 259 million in Q2 FY21 as compared to 196 million in Q2 FY21. Total business enquiries delivered increased to 175 million from 123 million, a growth of 42% YoY. Supplier Storefronts grew to 6.2 million in Q2 FY21, an increase of 9% YoY and paying subscription suppliers grew to 141 thousand, a growth of 3% YoY.

‘Learning from dukaan-tech companies’

Digital collection vs physical collection: When asked why the company still relied on a physical collection process, Agarwal said that 95% of the revenue that the company made this quarter came in through digital modes. “If you see pre-COVID, we used to do about 55-60% digital collection. It will never become 100%, since for a lot of our customers in the higher subscription models, their deal sizes are ₹2-3 lakh, and you have to go and meet the management of these companies, and in those sases, making a phone based sale done will be difficult,” he added.

  • However, for the lower priced subscriptions, almost all collections are done digitally, he said, while noting that he has seen a greater adoption in people in making digital payments based on the brand value and tele-consultation. Collections, overall, have reached 80% of pre-COVID levels, Agarwal said.

Lending coming to IndiaMART? When asked whether the company will introduce more payments features on its platform, Agarwal said that “there are some new innovations by these new age dukaan-tech companies, and we are learning from them”. “Historically we have been trying to move closer to the transactions as much as possible. We started to add a lead management system which is being utilised by buyers and sellers and then we added payment options. B2b order sizes are much higher, so our payment gateway is used only for smaller transactions,” Agarwal added.

Subscribers grew: It posted a revenue of ₹163 crore, out of which 95% is contributed by subscriptions to its various tiers of services. Paying subscribers on the platform stood at 141,000, an increase of 3% over last year.

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  • However, annualised revenue per paying subscriber at ₹45,800 grew only marginally, both sequentially and yearly — in the June quarter, it had posted ₹45,500 and in the same quarter last year, it was ₹44,600.

Platform traffic saw a spike in the September quarter — it was 259 million this quarter, compared to 191 million in the previous quarter, and 196 million in the same quarter last year. Almost 82% of this traffic came via mobile phones, the company said.

Financial snapshot

  • Revenue: ₹163 crore, up 4% YoY
  • EBITDA: ₹82 crore, up 125% YoY
  • Deferred revenue: ₹628 crore, down 0.4% YoY (Refers to contract liabilities in the financial statements, i.e. including advances from customers)
  • Cash generated from operating activities: ₹78 crore, up 85% YoY
  • Net profit: ₹70 crore, up 706% YoY

Downloads: Financials | Press release | Investor presentation

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