In 2017, Gumtree South Africa experienced its fastest growth since it started operating in the country 11 years ago.
This is according to Johan Nel, Director-GM of Gumtree SA, who said all their core metrics showed great improvements this year.
“It’s not just true for Gumtree. The entire ecommerce space has been reinvigorated,” said Nel.
He said new businesses and alliances are popping up and revenue levers are spinning across the board.
While it is hard to attribute a single factor to the phenomenon, Nel believes it is largely due to the maturation of the market.
“Consumers have been pushed to participate in the ecommerce space due, in part, to economic pressure, but also due to the lucrative opportunities that those spaces have created,” said Nel.
“No industry has demonstrated this more clearly than the automotive arena, with record numbers of dealerships adding classifieds to their sales strategy.”
“As financing becomes more difficult to obtain and new car prices surge, entrepreneurial informal car traders have generated close to R4.6 billion in turnover per month in 2017, by simply buying and selling cars for profit online,” said Nel.
“Gumtree has become a business tool for the average cash-strapped South African, making it easier for entrepreneurs to enter the market and launch their own businesses.”
What to expect in 2018
Nel told MyBroadband there have been a few consolidations in 2017 that will come to fruition next year, and consumers will reap the benefits.
“South Africa is still a tumultuous market for any businesses to operate in, but uncertainty only fuels classifieds from the ground up,” he said.
“A weaker economic outlook and high unemployment creates greater consumer interest and participation in the space, because of the ease of entry and associated cost savings.”
This should see new players enter the market, coupled with increased marketing spend and investment from established businesses.
Nel said Gumtree will also remain true to its goal of helping South Africans trade successfully.
“We’ve been the number one classifieds platform in terms of our size and popularity for a number of years now, but we’ve never taken that for granted.”
“2018 will see a renewed focus on the quality of the user experience, their needs, concerns, and goals.”
The platform will also offer its clients improved advertising services through Gumtree Media.
“South Africa is on the cusp of a new, smarter era of online advertising and Gumtree will lead the charge,” said Nel.