Emerging market for online advertising
Newspapers have so far escaped the trend of online services eating into the classified advertising business. However, Quikr India, an online classified service provider with backing from global behemoths like eBay’s promoters, is all set to storm the classifieds market with services being rolled out in 18 cities across the country. In an exclusive interview with Shiv Kumar, Quikr India CEO Pranay Chulet tells how the trend is bound to change with a growing change in the mindset of the Indian consumer and media consumption habits. Excerpts:
Worldwide online classifieds are eating heavily into the newspaper market. So far this has not happened in India. Why is this so?
“This has happened in India also. But the impact is less visible as the newspaper industry here is still growing unlike in some major economies like the US, where so to say it has totally crashed. Here, it started off with the newspapers losing share in categories like Jobs, Matrimonial and Travel. Online classifieds are also taking away a big chunk in categories like Real Estate, Automobiles and Services. This is bound to happen with the growth in Internet users as well as the change in the mindset of the Indian consumer and media consumption habits.”
How can an online advertising venture like Quikr hope to penetrate the classifieds market in India when most people are still conservative and rely on newspapers to deliver their requirements?
“The Internet is changing all that. Not sure if you know this but, with our presence in 40 cities, the number of people visiting us every month is already more than the circulation of any of the daily newspapers in the country. The Indian consumer is now more willing to experiment and try new things as long as they see the benefits. So, people are seeking the Internet and approaching Quikr to address a lot of their regular day-to-day needs that are not being addressed easily or efficiently offline. People using classifieds on Quikr and on newspaper classifieds are no different. They are businessmen – both big and small – and individuals like you and I. They are discovering the power of Internet: they see how a website like Quikr offers a great opportunity to connect with thousands of buyers and get more customers at no cost, and a range of categories that no newspaper can ever match. And all this, simply sitting in their office or home! These benefits are driving newspaper classifieds users to the Internet in both big and small towns”