India’s oldest e-commerce platform is bracing for its first direct challenge in 24 years as Justdial ups its game

India’s oldest e-commerce platform is bracing for its first direct challenge in 24 years as Justdial ups its game
Justdial/Facebook
  • IndiaMart has been a leader in the wholesale market, with a first mover advantage since 24 years.
  • Even Alibaba and Walmart’s entry has not displaced IndiaMart from pole position so far.
  • However, global investment bank UBS believes that Justdial’s new B2B (business to business) platform JD Mart may pose a serious challenge.
  • Check out the latest news and analysis on businessinsider.in.
Justdial – the 24-year old local discovery platform – is placing a new big bet. The company is set to launch its own B2B (business to business) marketplace called JD Mart. This will be in direct competition to the country’s oldest e-commerce platform IndiaMart, which has had an unchallenged run for 24 years.

Even the entry of Alibaba and Walmart into India’s wholesale market had not threatened IndiaMart as much as Just Dial’s JD Mart might. Global investment bank UBS added fillip to the excitement among Just Dial’s shareholders by raising the target price for the stock from ₹640 to ₹800. The shares of Just Dial jumped by over 3% in early trade on Wednesday.

India’s oldest e-commerce platform is bracing for its first direct challenge in 24 years as Justdial ups its game
BI India/BSE data

JD Mart – powered by Justdial’s existing strengths
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The potential and excitement for Justdial’s new platform comes with the fact that the company already has a strong foothold in the market and a loyal user base. According to a report by UBS, the company will be able to leverage its already existing 140 million quarterly unique users and 100,000 paid B2B subscribers to sell JD Mart.

A snapshot of Just Dial before JD Mart
Market cap as of October 21₹3,851.47 crore
FY20 revenue₹953.1 crore
FY20 net profit₹272.3 crore

IndiaMart has a headstart but e-commerce in India is so young that analysts are excited. “While IndiaMART is the leader with 150,000 paid subscribers (2.5% of listings) and $90 million in revenue in FY20, this is a fraction of the number of MSMEs in India. Given room for growth, we think two or more B2B platforms can co-exist,” said the UBS report. MSME stands for micro, medium and small enterprises.
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And Just Dial is pumping big money to capture this space. For the launch of the new platform, the company has already earmarked $15 million (₹110 crore) for marketing, branding and hiring. That is equal to the money spent by the company on advertising and promotion in the last two years combined.

YearJustdial’s advertising spend
FY 20₹66.7 crore
FY 19₹58.3 crore
Amount set aside for JD Mart branding₹110 crore

“We think Justdial has developed a superior platform on the backdrop of an interactive user interface along with robust depth and breadth of B2B product offerings. JD's core strength is its large sales force (9,000), which should aid monetizing the new platform,” said the UBS report.

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IndiaMart and JD Mart will have to share

India’s current B2B online marketplace has a clear leader – IndiaMart. Led by Dinesh Agarwal, the company has secured its position in the B2B marketplace space with over 150,000 subscribers. Its growing popularity has even led to analysts comparing IndiaMart to Chinese giant Alibaba (which is yet to make a mark in the Indian market).

India’s oldest e-commerce platform is bracing for its first direct challenge in 24 years as Justdial ups its game
BI India

The platform has over 68 million product listings across 100,000 categories. “If you can’t find something on IndiaMart, you won’t find it on the internet,” Agarwal had told Business Insider in an earlier interview. Agarwal believes this also keeps them different from their rising list of B2B ecommerce competitors – Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart wholesale, TradeIndia, and ExportersIndia.com among others.

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However, JD Mart is coming in with the exact same payment model as IndiaMart: a 'freemium' model where subscription is free but leads are chargeable and it is followed by a charged subscription model for premium users.

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