We’ve seen 25% surge in demand for pre-owned cars in July: Amit Kumar, OLX Autos

The great Indian Festive season has started amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know what kind of a washout the first half of 2020 has been when it comes to businesses and even personal lives being completely disrupted. Given the strict Government directives on maintaining social distancing, the huge crowds of shoppers that usually throng the markets during this time might be a lot less this year.

Also read: Consumers will increase spending on categories which are about home: Smita Murarka

In normal circumstances, brands look at the festive season as an opportunity to gain maximum ROI, leveraging the consumer sentiments during this time. However, the unprecedented conditions have dampened the economy so far. While some are sceptical about businesses picking up during the rest of the year, we are also seeing a general mood of optimism.

Amid such a scenario, Adgully has reached out to marketers and publishers across India to gauge the sentiments during the festive season this year as part of our special series on ‘Festive Mood’. Over the next few weeks, we will be bringing the views and insights from various markets on how marketers and publishers are endeavouring to trigger a revival and give a boost to festive sentiments.

Continuing with the series, in conversation with Adgully, Amit Kumar, Head, OLX Autos India, gives the OLX perspective on the festive season and the initiatives they've carried out during the pandemic.

How do you see the consumer sentiments across the nation this year? Which markets are seen as leading the rebound and how? What factors will drive growth this festive season? How much do you see festive sales getting impacted due to COVID-19 this year?

I believe that consumer sentiments overall will be muted, while certain sectors will show an uptick in consumer demand. Owing to the pandemic, consumer behaviour and the industry at large is hovering on the side of cautious optimism as markets gradually unlock.

Certain sectors like pre-owned automobiles, however, are faring better than the others. At OLX, we have seen that non-metro markets are leading the rebound and this is owing to the limited impact of the virus across the smaller cities. Good monsoons, rising agricultural output and a surge in demand for personal mobility options across Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities give us much confidence in the fact that consumers across these markets will continue to defy the overall slowdown and lead the rebound vis-a-vis their metro counterparts, where the impact of COVID-19 has been much more severe.

While it would be difficult to put a figure on the impact of festive sales, if one were to go by early indications, then we have seen that e-commerce marketplaces are faring much better. A similar trend can be seen in the demand and supply for pre-owned cars across online marketplaces and retail stores across OLX. We have seen a 25 per cent surge in demand for pre-owned cars in July and supply has recovered back to 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels. We are confident that this trend will continue to stay true during the festive season as well.

What kind of integrated marketing activities are you planning for the festive season? On which platforms will you be investing your ad spends more and Why? What kind of digital push are you looking at?

At OLX, we undertake brand campaigns or any marketing activities after having undertaken a thorough study of the prevailing consumer and market sentiment. As a pre-owned classifieds platform, we are largely focussed on our key vertical – pre-owned automobiles – hence, this year we plan to undertake certain targeted digital marketing activities in the festive season. The activities will largely focus on our offline retail presence of our OLX CashMyCar stores and for our new franchise outlets – OLX Autos – across key metro cities. The campaigns will largely focus on driving footfall to our stores and increasing the enquiries for pre-owned cars for dealers.

Do you see retail footfalls increasing during the festive season, given that people are still not venturing out for shopping in a big way? What alternate routes are you looking at to shore up sales – such as e-commerce, online purchases, D2C initiatives? 

Retail footfalls across the industry will continue to be muted or pick up at a slow pace as people want to avoid high touch retail experiences. This would also largely be dependent on the prevailing government guidelines around lockdowns in the respective cities or states. Many cities have to announce weekend lockdowns and given that retail activity picks up during the weekends, consumer footfalls will be impacted. So, the situation is extremely fluid as of now. However, the consumers’ appetite for buying and consuming products still exist, albeit across online marketplaces.

At OLX Autos, we have seen an early positive uptick in the number of footfalls and enquiries for cars in the country across our retail chains, owing to the fact that car is a necessity now due to limited or non-availability of public transport options and hygiene concerns. In order to shore up sales, we will focus on empowering consumers and our dealer partners across the right digital mediums. Over a million people visit our auto vertical online every day and we are confident that this will also translate into increased footfalls across our stores as well, given that we are adhering to the sanitization guidelines and OLX Autos is trusted retail experience for people to buy a pre-owned car of their choice.


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