The pandemic despatched demand for secondhand vehicles hovering globally, as nervous shoppers deserted public transport for personal vehicles. In India, that desire has turned a number of used-car platforms into unicorns – and there may be each signal that gross sales of pre-owned automobiles will solely develop in 2022.
“There isn’t a denying that there was a big shift in direction of second-hand vehicles through the pandemic,” Niraj Singh, founder and CEO of Spinny, a used automobile retailing platform that turned the newest to hitch India’s unicorn membership in December, instructed Quartz. “The outbreak and subsequent strict rules fuelled the demand.”
Singh added that “2022 is a promising 12 months for the used automobile phase in India with an increasing number of shoppers understanding the advantages of getting a private car”.
Spinny’s Singh is seeking to “go deeper” with a significant growth into mid-size and smaller cities this 12 months to cater to the rising market. The platform, based in 2015, presently operates in 15 cities, together with Delhi and Mumbai.
Akshay Singh, chief technique officer at car e-commerce platform, Droom, one other of the brand new unicorns, additionally believes that the desire for private mobility and used vehicles will proceed to stay sturdy in 2022, particularly because the nation faces a brand new wave of Covid circumstances.
“Folks will proceed to keep away from ride-sharing, public transportation as a result of ongoing pandemic and the brand new omicron variant,” he mentioned.
In additional developed markets, used automobile gross sales far outpace new gross sales, however till about 2019 used automobile gross sales had been roughly on par with new automobile gross sales in India. The jumpstart from the pandemic implies that pre-owned automobile gross sales can be double new gross sales inside 5 years, in response to knowledge from market analytics agency RedSeer.
Although the will to keep away from public transportation has been the principle driver of the uptick, on-line platforms helped the growth by bringing organisation and suppleness to what had been a extremely fragmented market and enabling extra transactions to occur largely on-line, interesting to the millennial demographic driving these gross sales. That spurred investor curiosity, taking 4 used-car startups to unicorn standing for the reason that pandemic started.
Cars24 India led the best way, with a $200 million funding spherical in November 2020.
Final 12 months, Droom raised as much as $200 million in July at a valuation of $1.2 billion and is aiming for a list in 2022. Droom was quickly joined by one other on-line market for vehicles CarDekho, which introduced a $250 million spherical of funding led by LeapFrog Investments. CarDekho can also be planning for an IPO this 12 months. Final month, Gurugram-based Spinny joined the membership with a $283 million funding spherical led by ADQ and Tiger World.
In keeping with RedSeer, startups have additionally helped to seek out new sources of earnings within the business, together with knowledge monetisation, subscription and rental plans, electrical car charging, and long-term upkeep packages. Droom has mentioned it expects insurance coverage and financing to be a future supply of earnings, and in addition plans to make use of its platform to supply electrical automobiles.
New automobile gross sales dipped 13% within the monetary 12 months led to March 2021 as compared with the earlier 12 months, adopted by one of many worst festive many years in November. Not solely did the pandemic scale back demand, however so did an ongoing world chip scarcity that has elevated the ready interval for newer automobile fashions.
Gamers within the pre-owned automobile house imagine that these struggles will work of their favour.
“The demand for used automobiles has additionally been boosted by provide chain points for brand spanking new automobiles the place semiconductor scarcity has resulted in lengthy ready intervals for a number of new fashions,” mentioned Singh, of Droom, who’s anticipating to see consumers within the nation’s tier 2 and tier 3 cities flip to used vehicles, in addition to an elevated desire for “bigger automobiles like SUVs”.
Moreover, inflation hovering at practically 5% is steering clients in direction of used vehicles. “Shopper value ranges are on the rise in India owing to the post-pandemic inflation impact,” mentioned Siddharth Maurya, an funding fund supervisor working independently. “Pre-owned vehicles are comparatively cheaper than new ones and therefore can get monetary savings.”
“Furthermore, now there isn’t any stigma related to preowned vehicles, which is additional giving a constructive push to the demand,” mentioned Maurya.
In keeping with RedSeer analysis, by the monetary 12 months 2025-2026, used automobile gross sales in India are anticipated to develop to eight.3 million models, posting double-digit development annually.
The sturdy numbers are drawing extra mainstream auto companies to the house. As an example, South Korean auto main Kia is predicted to arrange a used-car enterprise in India by 2022.
“Should you have a look at the situation at the moment, what I perceive is that the used automobile market is about 1.4 occasions the brand new automobile market and, come 2025, that is projected to be virtually two occasions the brand new automobile market,” Hardeep Singh Brar, vp and head of promoting and gross sales, Kia India mentioned at an occasion final 12 months. “So there may be great potential that we are able to see on this space.”
The swell in demand led to a provide crunch in 2021 for the preferred used automobile fashions. However business gamers say this difficulty is already resolving itself.
“The provision crunch has moderated in 2021 in comparison with the post-lockdown interval in 2020,” Singh of Droom, argued. “The rise in costs of used automobiles helped convey in additional provide to the market, which made the availability crunch extra manageable.”
This text first appeared on Quartz.