20 Jul 23

Adevinta’s size “surprises both sellers and buyers"

If you’re looking to buy or lease a car online, you’ve probably visited an Adevinta website. That name might mean less to you than its brand in your home market; but added up, those brands represent 3.1 million vehicle listings across Europe every month. “And not just for private consumers”, says Ajay Bhatia (Picture above), CEO of, and in charge of Adevinta’s overall mobility portfolio

Adevinta calls itself the world’s largest online classified company. It has activities in Europe, Canada and Brazil. Mobility is the biggest of its three main categories, representing 40-45% of total revenue (the others are used goods, or ‘re-commerce’ as they call it; and real estate and jobs). Mr Bhatia is in charge of the mobility category, which has businesses in Germany (, the Netherlands (, Belgium (, Spain (, France (L’, and Italy ( 

Why do you call it ‘Mobility’ instead of ‘Vehicles’?

“Because the business is changing. We’re a marketplace, acting as the online middle person for people buying and selling cars, scooters, motorbikes. But we also offer leasing. In future, we may even do subscriptions.”

Why do people come to you? 

“Because we are where the majority of buyers and sellers are. For most Germans buying a used car, is the first stop. That’s why we have 1.3 million vehicles on sale in Germany every month. In Germany, we’re the number one marketplace for used cars. In the Netherlands, we’re number two.”

How did the chip shortage and overall new vehicle supply problems affect your business in the last two years? 

“In 2021 and 2022, there was a new car shortage, driving up used car prices. As a result, cars became too expensive for many buyers. So we actually had a downturn in volume. Fortunately, that is now beginning to ease.”

What are your ambitions? 

“ We are strongly evolving from simple used car platforms to comprehensive one-stop-shops for consumers and a strategic partner for the automotive industry. By offering all relevant ownership models. By enabling fully online customer journeys. And by bringing together more demand and supply than anybody else. In terms of market development, we’re probably going to develop our services to dealers and consumers in the five markets we’re in now, rather than expand into new markets.”

How do you want to develop those services? 

“For example: ensuring you can input all your requirements and get a lease car entirely online. Or buy a car entirely online. You can already do that for some cars, but not yet all. We’ll also build dealer tools, making it easier for them to understand online leads.”

You talked about subscriptions. What other trends are shaking up your business?

Today, about 6% of cars in Europe are acquired via subscription. We see that increase to 10%. That will impact our market. Another is sustainability, the move to EVs. They’re expensive, so people will want to lease rather than buy them. So: more subscriptions and more leasing.”

How does that affect your business model? 

“Our three selling points are choice, consistency, and convenience. In our online marketplaces, you can find exactly what you’re looking for, you can easily compare like for like, and you can order it online. Offering subscriptions and leasing next to the buying option will only increase the value of those selling points.”

And what about Artificial Intelligence? Will ChatGPT change your model? 

“AI has the potential to make our business more efficient. We could screen calls before we put an agent on them. That means our agents would be better able to add value to the conversation. But AI could also help improve customer experience at the front end, for example by personalising the website. Why show someone black and blue cars if they’re only looking for red ones? Companies that don’t understand and use AI will be left behind. We will make sure that doesn’t happen to us.”

Let’s talk organisation. How many people work for Adevinta? And how do they work to give your customers what they need? 

“We have more than 5,000 people. That’s a lot, but then we have a lot of platforms across a lot of countries. Most are in Products and Technology. Next is Sales, focusing on car dealers, real estate agents, and other potential advertisers. Our third largest group is Customer Services, who help our advertisers fix issues with their input.” 

And who are the vehicle buyers?

“The vast majority are consumers, but we do have businesses there as well. For example, a dealer might spot a vehicle for sale and say: Hold it, don’t sell that car! I’ll buy it off you today, if you provide a discount.” 

One of the megatrends transforming the corporate segment is the move from Fleet to Mobility. How does that impact your business?

“It’s different per country. Look at Germany: a large country of 85 million, with no extremely large cities, and lots of medium-sized ones. That has an impact. For example: in central Berlin, you’ll see a lot of scooters. But I’m in Brandenburg right now, and there’s not a single one here. On an international level, Amsterdam is much more mobility-friendly than most German cities. So, mobility will be different in different countries, sometimes depending on very local circumstances.”

“Plus, you need multiple options depending on your needs. If you’re going shopping, you need a place to put your groceries – so, a car rather than a scooter. Autonomous cars will change things dramatically, but they’re 20, maybe 30 years away.”

Subscription is very handy. I’m new to Berlin, and currently subscribing to a car. I want to understand the city before I lock myself into a more permanent contract. But subscription is more expensive than leasing and other financing methods. So that’s why we still need to buy and sell cars. Each of these methods will have a market, and they will coexist. As Adevinta, we have to understand that mix to know what will happen to mobility, and to act accordingly. Although, there are also companies that rent out cars by the hour. That’s probably a bit too micro for a company like ours.”

Final question: What can you tell us about Adevinta that your customers probably don’t know about?

“Our size. Collectively, our national brands are Europe’s largest mobility platform. We have 3.1 million vehicles for sale at any given moment, and about 67 million visitors looking at them across all our sites. That large size is what makes us extra interesting not just to our consumers, but also to the sellers who use our platforms.” 

Picture : Courtesy of Adevinta

Authored by: Steven Schoefs