Snapdeal eyes larger share from realty market
NEW DELHI: Snapdeal is attempting to make online home-buying smoother to grab a share of the highest value purchase from consumers’ wallet, which is real estate. Snapdeal is tightening its belts via product improvements, end-to-end home-buying services, including home loans to make the road to buying homes smoother for customers. The move can potentially shake up the competitive online real estate market in India, given Snapdeal’s prime advantage of a 40-million user base. Several players are attempting to sell homes online, not just facilitate search and decision making.
“Competition has been intensifying in online real estate over the last two years,” said Sudhir Pai, CEO at MagicBricks, which is owned by Times Internet.
Early this year, Snapdeal, which has so far signed up with over 100 developers on its platform, launched a week-long shopping festival Freedom from Rent that had properties selling in the range of Rs 20 lakh for 1BHK homes to luxury villas priced at Rs 5 crore. In the most recent move, property consultancy JLL announced a 10-day online home festival offering apartments across 96 projects at a discount of 5 to 8% while mid-last year, Magic-Bricks, Google and GroupM had teamed up to launch an online shopping festival which generated 20 lakh visits translating into around 200 bookings online. Magic-Bricks also introduced online bidding and buying of properties with a builder in Bangalore in March this year. Snapdeal, which began piloting online real estate sales on its platform in late 2014 with Tata Value Homes, says ‘real estate’ is its next big product-category expansion and the seriousness on real estate is coming from the fact that the portal has seen month-on-month growth of about 20 to 25% in the first quarter of this year.
“We will do close to Rs 2,000 crore worth of properties on the platform by end of this fiscal,” said Tony Navin, senior vice-president – Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Snapdeal. The company is investing in analytics to understand customer profiles and customise searches, also offer more information on projects and builder track records to aid buying decisions. Home loans are another area the etailer wants to launch into for which it is forging partnerships with multiple financial service providers.
“The market is evolving. It’s not just aggregation anymore. The consumer is now looking for high quality data and information on builders, projects that can guide decisions,” said Sudhir Pai.
“To succeed in the game, however, online players have to play across all sorts of properties-new homes, rentals, and commercial property and re-sale homes to succeed,” adds Pai who gets only about 25% of new visitors looking for new homes. Around 45% of the traffic on Magicbricks is for rental requirements. Snapdeal is yet playing only in the new-homes category.
The current push by Snapdeal is not very well timed, because of the current slowdown in the industry which is not seeing very few new project launches and builders are facing acute problem of excess unsold inventory, say industry insiders. The latest victim is IndiaHomes which has halted sales of new homes owing to difficulty in recovering receivables from builders owing to slow market conditions.