UK Classifieds website Gumtree was founded in March 2000, and it currently operates across several Commonwealth countries, such as South Africa, Canada and Singapore.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary on Australian shores, the e-Bay owned Gumtree, boasts 7 million visitors each month. Newly rebranded, the website has introduced new search functions which enable it to be more competitive in the profitable used car sales market, and it has also launched a dedicated jobs site for the very first time.
Car listings are free of charge on Gumtree so far; they are commonly used for vehicles valued under $10k. Recently Carsales.com.au has started offering free private listings for cheaper cars as well.
Analysts estimate that in 2014, Gumtree surpassed Carsales.com.au in private listings and it has been edging into its earnings growth. Earlier this year Gumtree had about 340,000 car listings, including car parts, as opposed to approximately 200,000 on Carsales.
With its current "facelift," Gumtree did not wish to only don a new look, there was a drive to also improve its offerings.
Commenting on the improvements the website has undergone, General manager Martin Herbst said: "While we knew our users were ready for a sleeker and more contemporary design, a rebrand has to be more than a new lick of paint. We wanted to ensure we addressed some of the areas our users, and non-users, said could improve their experience on our site and in our community."
When asked about Gumtree's rebranding, Chief executive of Carsales.com.au, Cameron McIntyre, said: "As a business we don't tend to focus on what other competitors are doing in the market. We tend to focus on what we are doing as market leaders. [And] on what are doing in a more trusted environment."
A note from Morgan Stanley analysts earlier this year found online competitors like Gumtree have been eating into Carsales' earnings growth from private sale display ads.
While Carsales enjoyed earnings growth of between 12 per cent and 15 per cent overall, most of this came from its international division, according to the analysts. The display and private sale ads had earnings growth of between just 2 per cent and 5 per cent.
Morgan Stanley's team said it forecasts "modest top-line and earnings growth for Carsales' private seller division."