How Does Carousell Make Money? The Carousell Business Model In A Nutshell

  • Carousell is a smartphone and web-based C2C and B2C platform founded in Singapore by Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan. After the trio completed an internship in Silicon Valley, they became inspired by leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey.
  • Carousell makes money by connecting buyers and sellers and then acting as a mediator, advertiser, and payment facilitator. Advertising is the biggest source of income, with sellers bidding to occupy high visibility spots using in-app currency Carousell Coins.
  • Carousell charges sellers a listing fee for products in high-value categories. It also sells subscription plans to sellers giving them access to higher product quotas and business analytics, among other perks.

The History of Carousell

Carousell is a smartphone and web-based C2C and B2C multinational company headquartered in Singapore.

The company was founded in 2012 by Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan after the trio attended an internship in Silicon Valley. There, they became inspired by leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey who preached the importance of mission-oriented companies. The former college friends were also encouraged to think about how technology could be used to solve big problems.

Quek took this notion and ran with it, envisioning a platform that simplified online buying and selling. Importantly, the platform also needed to be aligned with Carousell’s broader mission to “inspire every person in the world to start selling.

The Carousell iOS app was launched in August 2012 with the Android version following in January the following year. To gain traction, the founders visited mom-and-pop stores in person and convinced them to sell on their platform. In November 2013, Carousell secured around $800,000 in angel funding.

Less than three years later, Carousell was operating in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia. This coincided with the eCommerce boom in Southeast Asia and several acquisitions, which enabled the platform to grow rapidly.

Recent data on company performance is hard to come by. However, two years ago the company was operating in 40 countries and claimed to be reaching over 350 million users each month.

Carousell revenue generation

Carousell utilizes a marketplace business model like many of its peers, with listing, advertising, and payment facilitation fees commonplace. 

The company essentially connects buyers and sellers and then acts as a mediator and payment facilitator.

Below is a look at each revenue stream in more detail.


According to Carousell, its main source of income are three advertising packages it offers to product sellers and various brands. These are used to drive traffic to product listings, grow reach, and increase views through enhanced visibility. 

Advertisement pricing depends on the niche, location, and existing competition for the product being promoted. 

Each of the three packages can be purchased with the in-app currency Carousell Coins. Discounts are offered to sellers who buy coins in bulk.

Listing fees

The first listing for a seller is free, but certain high-value categories like properties and automobiles will attract a listing fee.

In general, listing fees vary by country, category, and the length of time a product is listed. These fees can also be paid with Carousell Coins.

Carousell for Business

Carousell for Business, or CarouBiz for short, is a suite of premium tools offered to sellers on a subscription basis.

Prices for four different subscription plans vary according to country and the product listing quota.

As an example, the prices for Singaporean sellers are as follows:

  1. Starter CarouBiz ($9.98/month) – with a quota of 20 or more products able to be sold simultaneously. 
  2. Growing CarouBiz ($29.98/month) – with a quota of 120 or more products. Sellers choosing this plan and all subsequent plans also get access to a premium seller badge and business analytics. 
  3. Pro CarouBiz ($69.98/month) – for those wanting to sell more than 470 products.
  4. Super CarouBiz ($99.98/month) – offering a quota of at least 1,970 products.

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