Carousell brings dedicated app for autos to Singapore

03 Mar 2017

Carousell, the mobile stuff marketplace based in Singapore, launched a dedicated app (Android and IOS) for used autos in Singapore, with the aim to “disrupt existing offerings and become the No. 1 in Singapore’s auto vertical”.

The new app is called Carousell Motors. According to a news release, it “boasts a variety of unique features and a clutter-free interface, for a smooth and easy car-buying experience”. Also, it “provides reliable, transparent and easily accessible information on used cars in Singapore”.

It was launched with income sources in place. (More about that in an interview we conducted with Sanjay Shivkumar, head of Carousell Motors, and published here.) Carousell Motors is also available on desktop (here). Listings on Carousell Motors are duplicated on the Carousell stuff marketplace (here).

Carousell CEO Siu Rui Quek said “high-value verticals” will become “a key revenue driver” for the company.  

Carousell Motors was born out of the recent acquisition by Carousell of Singapore used-cars app Caarly, which gave Carousell a listing boost. “We tapped Caarly’s wide network of partners, accumulated over the years,” said Carousell.

According to news reports, the entire team of Caarly was pulled into Carousell Motors. Shivkumar is the founder of Caarly.

The Singapore market for auto sites is not very crowded. SGCarMart seems to be the only strong player with detailed listings. It has a huge aftermarket section on accessories, tyres and rims, as well as car-entertainment products.

According to SGCarMart, more than 96 percent of car owners sell on the platform, and it receives 2.6 million visitors every month, who generate 40 million pageviews.

SGCarMart also monetizes with a listing fee for car owners. A standard advertisement, with a run-time of six weeks, costs $58 SGD ($41 U.S.), while a premium ad with a 6-week run-time, costs $98 SGD.

The other Singapore player is STCars, which surfaced when the print classifieds of Singapore Press Holdings moved into the digital realm. The websites of SGCarMart and STCars are remarkably similar. This doesn’t surprise, since they are both owned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). SPH paid $48 million U.S. to acquire SGCarMart in April 2013.

Besides these two players, Carousell Motors has an open field to play on. Elsewhere in the region, there are smaller players, and also more dominant players, such as the huge ICar Asia with six or seven strongly sites in its portfolio.

According to the desktop version, there are more features on the app. Why this is so, was explained by Shivkumar in our interview mentioned above (link again). 

The listings page of Carousell Motors on the dedicated app

The product is customized heavily for the Singapore market. Among the features is the ability to “manage a vehicle”, which means managing parking fines given by any of three different government bodies.

Listing a vehicle takes a day, since the team retrieves vehicle information from (we assume) the Land Transport Authority. There is also a messaging feature on the app, with which the user can “chat directly with verified dealerships”.

The listing page seems to be similar in lay-out to the auto-listing page on the Carousell marketplace app. Both pages are user-friendly and leaves the impression that it’s quick-and-easy to upload a vehicle to sell.

There is also a feature on auto accessories, which can also be purchased from the Carousell Motors app. These appear to be listings curated off the Carousell stuff app, and are mostly used items. Once vehicles are “saved” on the app, it’s possible to compare them and find better deals.

We had a Caarly account, and hence we signed up with that account. The account pulls over data from Caarly into Carousell.

The features in the app allow users to filter quickly through down-payment and depreciation. On the website, there are other features, such as a price list for the so-called Certificate of Entitlement (which must be obtained before buying a car in Singapore), a detailed loan calculator, and information on road tax.

The desktop site of Carousell Motors

Carousell CEO Siu Rui Quek said the Caarly deal, “…paved the way for our monetization strategy, since high-value verticals will be a key revenue driver for us.”

They are keen to grow into other markets, but the product will need to be different as this one is deeply customized for the Singapore market.

With direct competition from SGCarMart, it remains to be seen whether Carousell Motors gets traction in the Singapore market.

The Carousell stuff app has tough competition in Shopee, a Tencent and Garena-backed mobile marketplace that claims annualized gross merchandise value (GMV) of $1.8 billion U.S., and which also operates in the region.

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Marian Jacob

Marian Jacob is covering South East Asia. Marian worked in marketing and corporate communications for over a decade, covering both internal and external communications. She began her career in professional services, leading up to communications business partnering in various multi-national organizations with progressive cultures. Marian has worked on both global and regional roles within communications. She also provides counsel to companies on strategic communications and marketing opportunities. She was an editor on the Singapore Audit Committee Guidance Committee Handbook for companies.