Frost & Sullivan: Online Classifieds Market maturing, overall revenue growth of 7% in 2012

Slowed growth of employment and automotive classifieds segments; real estate classifieds to display highest growth

May 12, 2013, 20:49 ET from Frost & Sullivan

SYDNEY, May 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The online classifieds market in Australia halved its growth recording in at 8% compared to 16% in 2011. This was mainly contributed to by a sharp downturn in growth in the employment sector and the automotive classifieds segment.

Frost & Sullivan predicts that from 2012 till 2016 annual growth rates of the overall classifieds market will average around 7% as the overall market reaches a higher state of maturity, with the total market reaching $1,011 million by 2016. Frost & Sullivan's latest report, Australian Online Classifieds Market 2013 reveals that the online real estate classifieds market is predicted to display the highest average growth with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just under 10 percent for the period between 2012 and 2016.

Delivery of online classifieds advertising through mobile channels will grow strongly in line with the increasing uptake of mobile devices; both smartphones and tablets. A strong mobile channel offering is very important for online classifieds players as a growing proportion of users are accessing the internet via mobile devices, said Phil Harpur, Senior Research Manager, Australia & New Zealand ICT Practice.

"The immediacy aspect of mobile sites enables and encourages consumers to visit online classifieds sites frequently. Consumers increasingly use multiple mobile devices to view online sites and other websites in verticals such as auto and real estate. To capitalise on this new technology and create competitive advantage, many leading Australian classifieds publishers including Carsales, REA and Seek are now spending significant amounts on mobile platform research and development," Harpur elaborated.

Harpur explained that the reduction in expenditure on online classifieds in the employment sector was not surprising as the online classifieds employment segment is highly correlated with conditions in the overall economy. From 2012 to 2016, the employment classifieds sector is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 3.7%. Expenditure growth going forward will also be constrained by the growth in alternatives to paid job listings, such as direct candidate search or use of social media to source candidates. LinkedIn's social aspect and large network of professionals which can be easily targeted according to job category or other characteristics, makes it an attractive platform to target passive candidates. Further market penetration by LinkedIn could potentially impact mainstream online employment websites.

The online real estate classifieds market is now mature, with the majority of properties and agents using the online channel. "The real estate sector has proven relatively resilient with online classifieds revenue growth increasing from 15% to only 18%. Market leaders REA and Domain performed strongly. The relative strength of this sector is due to a reasonably strong property market, coupled with greater take-up by customers of premium or other added-value services which have increased average revenue per user," said Harpur.

Online classifieds of the automotive sector market saw growth slow from 14% in 2011 to 5% in 2012.  Key reasons for the slowdown were reduced growth from market leader Carsales, and market consolidation.  Downward pressure on online classifieds ad pricing, combined with a lower growth of ad volumes due to a relatively mature market also contributed to the dip. Growth is expected to reduce to 5% by 2016, with a CAGR of 6.5% predicted for the 2012 to 2016 period.

The report also covers the general segment of the online classifieds market, defined as general merchandise categories outside of the three major segments of real estate, employment and automotive. Here, two business models which are impacting and restricting growth in the general online classifieds market are the online auction market and the free classifieds market, the latter of which has gained significant market share over the past 3 years. "Gumtree Australia, a subsidiary of eBay continues to make significant inroads into this market and Gumtree's level of Internet traffic has grown significantly over the past 2 years," Phil finishes.

Frost & Sullivan's Australian Online Classifieds Market April 2013 report forms part of the Frost & Sullivan Australian Digital Media program. All research services included in this subscription provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available. If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail with your contact details to Donna Jeremiah, Corporate Communications, at

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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan