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Online Gifting Is a Rs 1,000 Cr Market: Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, Consim Info

Murugavel Janakiraman is the founder and CEO of Consim Info Pvt Ltd, one of India's top Internet players whose flagship is Bharatmatrimony.com. Consim Info Pvt Ltd just launched an e-commerce portal Matrimonygifts.com and is readying to launch another portal in the matrimonial space this week. In conversation with Techcircle.in, Janakiraman discusses the opportunity in online gifting, the traction seen, and Consim's online and offline plans for the year.

How many sites does Consim Info Pvt Ltd run in all? We run 300 sites under Community Matrimony and 15 sites under Bharatmatrimony.

How many active users do you have and how has this grown compared to last year? We have a total of 20 million registered users across all portals and 3 million active users in all. This user base is growing at 20-30% year on year.

What was the intent behind setting up Matrimonygifts.com? Gifting is a big opportunity, based on our understanding of doing this business. We talked to users to understand the demand - people who are looking for life partners also have friends who are getting married. They always have a challenge on what to buy when they attend a wedding. So with our reach and success, we decided to set up an online gifting site that will offer personalised and exclusive gifts. Marriage is our core category and so we are able to leverage it to offer an exclusive and wide range of items that will help users choose what to buy for their friends' weddings.

What has been the traction so far at Matrimonygifts.com? Initial traction has been good – we have already witnessed 100 orders so far.

What are your expectations from sales on Matrimonygifts.com for the year? We have not really decided on targets. The focus is now on expanding our opportunity and offerings. We have made a start.

What is the opportunity in gifting? If you look at it, there are around ten million weddings being conducted in India and we target the group attending it. On an average, every wedding would get some 50-100 gifts. Online gifting today is a Rs 1,000 crore market. But these gifts can also be used in other family occasions - such as an anniversary or a birth.

That brings us to the question – is this a generic e-commerce site? It can be. But it is very matrimony focussed and going forward we will be offering personalised gifts too. There is no other marriage gifting site in India. We believe there are enough and more opportunities. Someone has to create and lead a breakthrough. For example, we are considering setting up a wedding registry next. We also plan to add return gifts (wedding favours).

What is your strategy for e-commerce? We will share our strategy as we continue to launch and receive feedback on what kind of items the users want. As we progress, the strategy will be fine tuned.

Do you plan to launch a wedding planning site the likes of Bigindianwedding.com? No, online wedding planning market is still in very early stages. India is not used to it. In time, it will get professional and organised but we are not looking at such a site at this point of time.

What are your online and offline expansion plans at Consim Info Pvt Ltd? We will launch another property in the matrimonial space. We will go aggressive in all dimensions in the next few months. We run 98 retail outlets and will reach 100 within a week. We plan to take it to 200 this year.

Can you share your corporate expansion plans? We are adding more employees – currently we have 2,200 people and will reach 3,000 plus employees by end of year. We currently operate in 60-70 cities.

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