Info Edge India MD and CEO Hitesh Oberoi said that overall, things look very bright on the operating side, unless there is another COVID wave. If this trend continues, it should be a very good year for Info Edge, he added.
Well, we have been pleasantly surprised by our performance last quarter. This is despite a terrible April and May because of the second COVID wave. Last year, of course, our business was massively impacted, but this year thanks to the war for talent in IT, we have not seen a market like this in the last 5 years. Frankly, the talent market is super hot right now. Every company is hiring. Every company has higher attrition than they had a year ago. In fact, attrition levels are at a level which most companies have not seen in the last 10 or 12 years, especially in IT and digital companies.
That’s really driving job growth and July was very good and very positive for us as well. Let’s hope this continues. The non-IT part of the business is still under pressure as it is more indexed to the Indian economy and what happens on the COVID front. We believe that piece will also start to recover in the second half of this year.
99acres was a little different because it was massively impacted by the second COVID wave. People do not buy houses unlike hiring; hiring can happen digitally. Companies are happy to interview online, they are happy to make offers online even without meeting candidates, but people do not buy houses till they see the house a couple of times. That was impacted massively by COVID in Q2. So there the recovery for us was muted. The business grew but was expected to grow much more.
Even there we saw solid recovery towards the end of the quarter. June was better than expected, July has been great. Even that market is back on track. The Shiksha business also continues to do well. It has positively surprised us. In fact, it made a profit this quarter for us also on a small base. So, all in all, things look very bright on the operating side, unless there is another COVID wave. So, fingers crossed. But if this trend continues, then this should be a very good year for Info Edge.
There are maybe two or three stories playing out there. One is this whole startup story which is not a big part of our story because we do not really do a lot of business with startups. Of course, it impacts our hiring, but the startup market as we know is on fire. More than 24 unicorns in the last one year, every company has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and they all want to hire people. But they all want to hire very high-quality talent and that talent is limited in number.
Therefore, there is a massive war for talent in the startup space. In fact, companies are finding it difficult to stay at the same level. I mean, they are not able to add headcounts, that is how bad it is. Then there is a whole IT services market, the export market, the Indian IT services companies. There are thousands of them and they work with international clients. There what is playing out is this whole digital transformation story which is not just an Indian story, but it is a global story thanks to COVID.
What happens is in a tough market we end up giving up a lot of discounts to customers. Pricing takes a beating, etc, in a market like these. Companies do not care, so you do not have to extend discounts and you do not have to give any bulk deals. You can up prices and still get away with it. You get higher pricing and volume, and you also get new customers.
Lastly, we are also launching new products. Those new products find buyers because in a booming market people are more willing and companies are more willing to invest and try new things. So, it helps us on many fronts. This has a profound effect on our business. Let’s see how it goes. I hope this boom continues and it will continue for some time.