78,300 Crores Worth of Used Goods Stocked Away in Indian Homes, Reveals OLX Annual CRUST Survey 2016

India’s ‘Brown money’ economy is more than eight times the 2016–17 budget for Government of India’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’

New Delhi, 9th August, 2016: OLX, India’s #1 consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace, today announced the third edition of the OLX CRUST (Consumer Research on Used-Goods and Selling Trends) Survey for 2015–16. The report estimates the size of the unused goods market in India and examines key attitudes towards unused goods. While conceiving the first CRUST Survey in 2013–14, OLX coined the term ‘Brown Money’ to represent the value locked in unused goods gathering dust in homes.


According to the third edition of the survey conducted by IMRB (Indian Market Research Bureau) across 16 cities, Indians stock a whopping ₹ 78,300 Crores equivalent of Brown Money. Last year CRUST estimated this figure to be ₹ 56,200 Crore.

This amount is so huge that it can fund Government of India’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ eight times over.

Said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India, “The idea of a store-room, so common in India, somewhere implies that we are Ok with stocking unused items. Clutter is such an integral part of our existence that we overlook its drawbacks. Let’s presume that unused goods occupy on an average at least 50 sq ft of area in our homes. At an average cost of real estate at ₹ 4,200 per sq ft in urban India, the 80 million urban households in the country would be blocking ₹ 16.8 lac crores worth of real estate because of unused items.”

“Ancient wisdom too urges human beings to unclutter. It’s time to deal with the problem of clutter head on. Uncluttered minds work better, uncluttered lives are healthier, and uncluttered homes are more beautiful,” added Batra.

CRUST was the first ever study released in India to evaluate the market potential of unused goods. Over the years, the CRUST research has helped the industry develop a comprehensive understanding of the unused goods market in India, key trends, consumer behavior, and the future outlook of the industry.

CRUST reveals many interesting industry trends. One of these exposes the deal-seeking nature of Indians. According to the survey more and more Indians now wait for e-commerce sales to compare prices of new items during the sale with that of used goods. Another formidable finding of CRUST this year is on the advantage of selling online in comparison to selling offline and opting for exchange. The survey estimates that the value realized through online selling is on an average 25% higher than the one realized through offline selling, and 47% higher than that through exchange across multiple categories.

Said Sushmita Balasubramaniam, Vice President, IMRB, Shopper and Retail, “This is the third time IMRB has conducted one-of-its-kind market sizing study on unused goods in India for OLX. Every year new facets emerge in terms of new trends and changing perceptions. One of the more interesting findings of this year is about the value of used goods that are sold online vs. sold offline vs. exchanged. Value of used goods being sold online was found to be on an average 25% higher than similar types of goods sold offline. This difference becomes even starker when one compares it with the value of used goods being exchanged. The value of goods sold online is 47% higher than those which are exchanged for purchasing new products.”

The report further concludes that on an average every Indian household is stocking 12 clothing items, 14 kitchen utensils, 11 books, 7 kitchen appliances, 2 mobile phones and 3 watches.

The CRUST Survey also suggests that stocking of goods continues to rise. India has a 90% stocking incidence rate, up 3% from the last year. The report citied the age-old excuse of ‘I’ll use it one day’ as one of the key motivators to stock goods.

On the flipside, selling of goods has 49% incidence rate in India, up 4% from last year. The report claims that 27% respondents who engaged in selling of goods cited ‘boredom’ as a factor, especially for mobile phones which has emerged as a cluttered category in 2016.

Commenting on the stocking and selling trends increasing this year, Batra said, “It’s interesting to see both stocking and selling figures rising. The emergence of consumer-to-consumer (C2C) online classifieds in the country has led to greater awareness about used goods. A few years ago people didn’t actively think about unused goods and stocking but now they do. That’s the primary reason why we see stocking figures moving up. Consumerism is another reason why stocking is increasing despite selling rising.”

Talking a little more about OLX’s global heritage Batra added, “In India OLX started its marketing efforts only in 2011, but this year marks a special milestone for us as a global brand. OLX was founded in 2006, and for 10 years now it has empowered millions of people across the world by helping them connect for buying and selling of goods and services. OLX has grown from an idea in Argentina in 2006 to a global online community of local people coming together to trade. In India alone, the platform gets 3 billion page-views a month, with a brand awareness five times that of others in the space, proving the power of our community.”

With more than 1.7 billion monthly visits, 35 billion monthly page-views, 54 million monthly listings, and 300 million devices that connect monthly to its platforms, OLX is among the top online global consumer brands by audience. Since its initial launch in Argentina in 2006, OLX has grown globally to become the #1 online classifieds platform in high-growth markets across Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe including leading positions in 34 markets such as India, Poland, Ukraine, Colombia, Indonesia, Brazil, Portugal and more.

Top trends from CRUST

Stocking behavior among Indians

Compared to last year, stocking of goods continues to rise, with 90% incidence rate as compared to 87% last year. The report suggests 37% respondents citing the age-old excuse of ‘I’ll use it one day’ as their top reason to stock, followed closely by 39% citing the reason ‘Don’t want to sell’, driven by emotional attachment to goods.

Clothes emerged as the largest category stocked, followed by kitchen utensils and books. On average across the cities households have 12 clothing items, 14 kitchen utensils, 11 books, 7 kitchen appliances, 2 mobile phones, 3 watches lying unused.

South India leads the other regions on stocking, though not by much. Among the cities, Chandigarh and Kochi at 98% lead the stocking charts. Delhi and Bengaluru follow closely at 97% stocking incidence, while Chennai, Patna, and Bhubaneswar are lowest at 74%, 74%, and 66 % respectively.

Selling of used goods is on a high

Selling has seen an uptick compared to the previous year with an incidence rate of 49% as compared to 45% last year. Among the most sold categories are books, kitchen utensils, and mobile phones. Selling of household appliances has seen the most growth.

Households in the North are driving the sell trend, while selling is growing at the fastest pace in non-metros. Desire to upgrade is the primary reason for selling used goods — 68% of respondents said, 27% respondents cited ‘boredom’ with using products as the main reason for selling- something particularly seen in the mobile phones category.

Exchange as an alternative

Exchange has always existed as a means to unlock value from used goods, but it continues to remain on the fringes. It comes as no surprise as the survey indicates that more than a third of the people who exchanged goods felt the exchange value was lower than their expectations.

Buying used goods and the value thereof

Mobile phones are the most bought category among used goods. Both price and the quality of the product are most sought after pieces of information by sellers. Buying from shops/dealers and directly from friends and family continues to be the most important channel. The value and affordability of used items are the key reasons why buyers went for them. Interestingly, 1 in 6 buyers take new product value in e-commerce sales as a reference to assess price they should pay for used goods. This hints at the enterprising and value-driven nature of Indian consumers.

OLX- IMRB CRUST Methodology

CRUST included a qualitative research followed by a quantitative study across 16 cities in the country covering 3 town classes –Metros, Tier 1, and Tier 2. The towns covered included, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Patna, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Indore, Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Pune. The product coverage in the sample study included, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, Books, Mobile Phones/Smart Phones, Home Appliances, Watches, Baby & Children Products, Bicycles/2 wheelers, Furniture, Musical Instruments, Camera, Sporting Goods, Computers/Laptops, and Cars/Car Accessories.

A random sampling methodology was used to identify the 5800 sample across these 16 cities, using the electoral rolls as a sample selection frame. From the electoral rolls, appropriate number of addresses, representing the starting points were identified, ensuring randomness within a sample town, as well as geographic dispersion. The sample was spread across both Males / Females, in the age group of 18–60 years, belonging to SEC A/B/C households.

Pen & Paper interviews were conducted among the selected respondents. IMRB International conducted the study across 16 cities across the four regions of the country. The research surveyed about 5314 consumers, chosen randomly across the age group of 19–60 years.

About OLX.in

OLX is India’s number one consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace. It is India’s largest marketplace for used cars and motorbikes, used mobile phones, and used household items. OLX offers a free, fast, and hyper-local way for Indians to sell and buy used goods and services. As pioneers of ‘We-Commerce’ in India, OLX brings sellers and buyers together for win-win exchanges.

OLX was founded in 2006, and is backed by Naspers, which is a global internet and entertainment group and amongst the largest technology investors in the world. OLX is present in 40+ countries across the globe, and is the market leader in most of these countries.

In India it already has 80% market share of the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) online trade. OLX is the number #1 buying + selling mobile App in India according to Google Play store, and is currently trending at 3 billion page-views a month (June 2016). OLX India has won prestigious industry awards and accolades and was recently recognized by the prestigious ‘Superbrands’ in 2016.

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