Info Edge (India) Ltd. saw recovery across segments with traffic returning to Naukri and 99acres, its recruitment and real estate platforms, in the quarter ended September 30. Traffic returned to pre-COVID levels on both platforms. Naukri billings were back to 80% in the quarter.

  • Billing: ₹249.5 crore, down by 17% YoY
  • Revenue: ₹256.1 crore, down by 19.1% 

Naukri

Traffic returned to pre-Covid levels in Q2, witnessing a “solid recovery” in collections, from a 48% decline in corporate collections in Q1, down 13% YoY by Q2, and down only 10% YoY in September, according to CEO and managing director Hitesh Oberoi. Recovery was seen across sectors, with billings in IT and telecom, which comprises the largest chunk of revenue, reaching pre-Covid levels and driving the recovery.

Segment recovery: Hospitality, tourism, and travel are not in a good place. Activity from IT companies is at pre-Covid levels. Healthcare, education, telecom, and insurance are doing okay, but are still down compared to pre-Covid. Things are getting better every week, and should get better if the Covid-19 situation improves.  

Billings recovery: Billing recovered to 80% of Q2FY20, and 90% of September 2019. A portion of the business came from customers who had deferred their subscriptions for a few months because of COVID-19, and they may renew their subscriptions in Q3 and Q4, Oberoi said. Recruitment engagement has been recovering, though recruiter search down was down 12% in September, and 30% in Q2 over the previous year. 

Market share and competition: Naukri already has a large market share, though it lost some traffic because of COVID-19 in the first few months. But competitors were impacted even more and Naukri ended up gaining a few points in market share over competitor Indeed. Oberoi said he would not read too much into market shares determined by independent sources because the algorithms keep changing quarter to quarter. “The problem is that the app traffic is not easy to measure and a lot of the traffic is on the app, unlike a few years ago when it was on the web. That is not easy to measure for many of the online data and traffic providers,” Oberoi said. 

  • Job Speak Index, which is a proxy for hiring in the country, is rising month-on-month. In September-October, it was down 23% YoY, which is a significant improvement from Q1, when it was down 60% on an average from last year.
  • There is also monthly improvement in direct online sales suggesting revival in sales from retail and small customers. Job seeker activity continues to recovery since June.

Operational Snapshot

  • CVs added per day: 16,528 CVs on an average 
  • Database base: 17 million CVs 
  • Average CV modifications: 451,000 per day

Financial Snapshot

  • Billings: ₹167.3 crore, down 20.2% YoY
  • Revenues: ₹182.6 crore, down 19.3% YoY 
  • Operating EBITDA: ₹100.5 crore, down 18.9% YoY 
  • IIM Jobs billing: ₹5.17 crore, up 11.6% YoY. 

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99acres

Traffic was back to pre-Covid levels, in fact growing by 10% compared to Feb 2020 levels by the end of Q2. Business improved sequentially each month through July and September, with recovery of 76% of Q2FY20 business by the end of the quarter. Though builders are being cautious over advertising spend, brokers have slowly upped spending on resale and rental segments. Daily listings posted by owners were higher than pre-Covid levels by the end by Q2, while broker listings recovered with some lag.

“Traffic is also back in 99 acres. In fact, response and inquiries are at an all time high. The inquiries we are generating are like 50-60% on the buyer side over last year” —  Hitesh Oberoi, CEO and managing director, Info Edge 

Info Edge’s focus in the near term will be to improve search in classifieds and provide information over the course of time to help them understand the real estate market better. We already provide some owner assist services, helping them rent and sell their properties, Oberoi said. 

Lag in new homes: Though all verticals are impacted, including new home, rental, resale, the new homes segment was impacted the most due to decrease in new launch activity and buyers wanting more ready-to-move properties. Inquiries shifted to the ready homes segment, bringing new launches under pressure. New launches are properties for which construction has begun and which would be ready-to-move in 3-4 years. However, new home inquiries are improving, and its a matter of time before that revenue should be back soon, especially if things remain stable on the COVID-19 front. Revenue from new homes would be 60% of total revenue if not more, with new launches making up for 30-40% of this. 

Subscription up for renewals: Some subscriptions are up for renewals in the coming quarters and some renewals may come from customers who may have deferred them in the past months due to Covid-19. The renewal numbers are smaller in size when compared to Naukri, “because we sell a lot of monthly and quarterly campaigns”. Clients, particularly brokers did not renew in Q1 and now they are coming back. 

Smaller cities recovered more than larger metros during COVID-19, with surges in both buyer and listing activity. This could be because smaller cities had lower cases of COVID-19 compared to cities like Bombay, Delhi, Pune, or Bangalore which were locked down for a long time, Oberoi said. Unfortunately, smaller cities are a small part of the revenue for the company. Although business in these cities is growing, the pace is slow. “They will not move the needle for us in either segment,” Oberoi concluded.

  • Billings: ₹46.7 crore, down 22.9% YoY 
  • Revenue: ₹36.3 crore, down 33.6% YoY 
  • Operating Loss: ₹7.2 crore   

Jeevansathi

The segment saw acceleration in growth rates and traffic, with marketing spend resulting in pre-Covid level of sales growth. Features such as video calls and video profiles helped drive user growth and engagement. 

  • Billings: ₹24.7 crore, grew 18.6% YoY 
  • Revenue: ₹23.8 crore, grew 14.4% YoY 
  • Operating loss: ₹33.3 crore, grew 16.5 crore 

Shiksha

The company’s focus is going to be to invest more in relevant content that is generating traffic, in order to generate for inquiries for customers that pay for them, Oberoi said. Shiksha, which began with listing out colleges and courses, now offers information on exams and other educational content. 

CodingNinjas’s model is a little different from that of WhiteHat Jr, a startup that was acquired by ed-tech company Byju’s. WhiteHat Jr is teaching coding to kids in school, but CodingNinja’s proposition is to upscale job seekers and help them get better jobs. Oberoi indicated that it is still early days for CodingNinjas, in which Info Edge had invested ₹37.10 crore in February, acquiring a 25% stake. 

  • Billings: ₹10.8 crore, grew 15.1% YoY
  • Revenue: ₹13.4 crore,  grew 7.7% YoY 
  • Operating EBITDA: Rs .9 crore, vs .2 crore YoY 

Press Release & Financials | Earnings Call Audio

Also read: InfoEdge: Recovery in Naukri, cash burn down in Zomato, higher traffic in Jeevansathi in Q1