Brands are getting ready for the 2021 end-of-year celebrations

Bombay: It’s September. And, there is palpable anticipation tinged with hope, as the country prepares for another holiday season in the post-pandemic world. Onam has already kicked off the celebrations in Kerala with brands launching exciting offers. Not surprisingly, a large portion of a brand’s annual marketing budget is spent during this time of year. So how is the buzz this year? Are brands and companies optimistic in their expectations for the holiday season, or are they reluctant to go full blast, in the face of the looming threat of the third wave?

Online retailer Myntra said it has seen an increase in pent-up demand in recent months. “Overall, the entire e-commerce ecosystem in India is brightening up during this quarter. We are looking to ride the wave by using this opportunity to serve our customers while focusing on all possible festive shopping opportunities, starting with Durga Puja and going through Navratri and Diwali, ”a spokesperson for Myntra said. . “We expect this holiday season to be bigger than last year.”

Demand peaks in the 30 days leading up to Diwali, according to the fashion e-trader, and he expects it to be the same this year. In fact, demand in the two months leading up to the holiday season is expected to be much higher than last time, especially in subways and level 2 / level 3. Adoption of digital channels for shopping also continues to accelerate.

According to Modi Naturals, Marketing Director, Shardul Bist, there is a huge pent-up demand, which will ensure the next holiday season is better than 2020. She is also planning a 360-degree media campaign this year. “This is the time when people across the country are eager to have fun with their loved ones at home. So definitely, this holiday season, MNL is doing everything to appeal to consumers, ”said Bist, noting that the FMCG company is also entering the ready-to-eat segment this time around, with a new sub-brand – Oleev Kitchen, and is launching new categories – Pasta and Peanut Butter – to strengthen its food division.

Brands are hoping for a better holiday season in terms of business and sales. Sales of some categories have already started to increase, and brands are hoping that this will continue over the next few months. For example, the demand for two-wheeler tires remains strong with substantial growth in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities against a backdrop of increasing preference for private mobility among customers.

“Our expectations are to create impactful visibility at the retail level by focusing on levies. We are pleased that sales are rebounding and seeing balanced volume growth leading up to the holiday season, ”said TVS Srichakra, Kavitha Ganesan brand marketing manager, who expects consumer sentiment to improve with this. the resumption of the IPL and the T20 World Cup. “With the exception of 2020, our category has always benefited from constant investments in brand building and advertising. Comparing ad spend to last year might not be safe, as last year was muted for the category when it comes to media spend. Given the category’s buoyancy, we believe the ad-ex would increase this year. “

The brands are all ready to celebrate the promising prospects of this festive season with organized commercial and consumer promotions. This is the “lock and unlock phase,” said Jolene Fernandes Solanki, COO of Madison Media Ultra. “Brands had started preparing for the unlock phase long before they reaped the benefits of the unlock period. We will see an increase in spending as the holiday season approaches as peak sales for many categories occur during the holiday season. Budgets that were not used during the lockdown can also be used during this period, ”Solanki said.

However, there are also apprehensions of a new wave of Covid cases, and brands and advertisers remain aware of this.

There is a pervasive sense of déjà vu when discussing “pent-up demand” a year later as well, as it was around this time last year that the easing began to begin. lockdown in many parts of the country, shared Wunderman Thompson, Southeast Asia, Chairman and CEO of Tarun Rai Group. Brands then focused on serving the pent-up demand of all the previous six months, and because of the “second wave,” marketers find themselves in a situation similar to last year.

Nonetheless, Rai is not ruling out a promising season for most product categories, with the overall mood on the Covid front improving every day. He also noted that unlike last year, brands are better prepared and supply issues are largely resolved. “So yes, this year the season will once again be of utmost importance to marketers. This is the moment that brands shouldn’t hold back, ”Rai added.

CupShup online marketing agency co-founder Sidharth Singh also drew attention to bottlenecks where brands might not be able to meet customer demand. “Trade wars, global turbulence impact supply far more than we realize and impact both availability and price of the product. Brands are watching it closely and aligning their spending and strategy accordingly, ”he said.

Nonetheless, brands are eagerly awaiting better investments to accelerate their growth. According to iProspect senior vice president Kaushik Chakraborty, key industries such as automotive, e-commerce, consumer goods and BFSI are expected to increase spending during the season to offset the impact of the second. wave.

Historically, the festive months of September-December contribute more than 40 percent of all advertisements. This year the contribution will increase further with the eight weeks of intense cricket in the second phase of the upcoming IPL and T20 WC. Additionally, with major GEC channels launching big-ticket shows like KBC, India’s Best Dancer, Big Boss, advertisers will certainly take advantage of this opportunity and expect significant ad growth compared to 2020. -he adds.

According to a recent report by Dentsu International, ad spending is expected to increase 10.8% in 2021 to $ 9 billion. India’s television, print and digital advertising revenues are showing signs of recovery after declining nearly 20% in 2020. These data, following the setback suffered by the industry in the April-June quarter of this year are important.

“India is estimated to experience growth of over 20% in 2021 compared to 2020. Advertising growth would be driven by digital, followed by TV, print media, outdoor advertising and advertising. radio. With increased demand, we will also see rate increases from broadcasters to compensate for the lack of ad rate growth over the past 18-24 months, ”said Havas Media India, Managing Partner – South, Saurabh Jain, adding that the vaccination campaign has also boosted consumer confidence. “This spike in positive feelings will lead to ‘revenge shopping’ this holiday season as more and more people go out to shop or consume.”

In terms of festive ad spend and marketing strategy this time around, Jain said, “Since COVID-19, campaign duration and planning cycles have become shorter and the digital switchover has accelerated, this which has an impact on overall marketing strategies. “

Industry executives are not without caution when it comes to the coming holiday season, however. “There are a lot of brands listening and they are working with a lot more vigilance and dexterity in their plans. The fear and anxiety associated with the third wave of Covid is noticeable. So there would always be a plan B and a plan C. Brands will source in limited quantities, ”said Pantul Kothari, partner of Tiger Advertising. “Having said that, most businesses think this is an opportunity that should not be missed. And we expect aggressive marketers to cause huge media noise. “

Industry leaders agree that companies have reached a new normal or a new base of activity after the impact of the pandemic. The objective will be to move forward from this point. Going back to pre-Covid trends and spending is no longer part of the industry playbook. Brands are trying to cover what is lost by improving their game and taking advantage of the holiday season to connect with their audience.

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