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Consumers will increase spending on categories which are about home: Smita Murarka

We are witnessing the great Indian Festive season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know what kind of a washout the first half of 2020 has been when it comes to businesses and even personal lives being completely disrupted.

Also read: We focused on repairing our nets when we couldn’t go to the sea - Shreyams Kumar

In normal circumstances, brands look at the festive season as an opportunity to gain maximum ROI, leveraging the consumer sentiments during this time. However, the unprecedented conditions have dampened the economy so far. While some are sceptical about businesses picking up during the rest of the year, we are seeing a general mood of optimism.

The festivals of Onam and Ganesh Mahotsav have commenced from Saturday, August 22, 2020. Given the strict Government directives on maintaining social distancing, the huge crowds of shoppers that usually throng the markets during this time might be a lot less this year. Already, the Maharashtra Government has placed restrictions on Ganesh puja pandals.

Amid such a scenario, Adgully has reached out to marketers and publishers across India to gauge the sentiments during the festive season this year as part of our special series on ‘Festive Mood’. Over the next few weeks, we will be bringing the views and insights from various markets on how marketers and publishers are endeavouring to trigger a revival and give a boost to festive sentiments.

Continuing with the series, Smrita Murarka, Vice President Marketing & E-Commerce, Duroflex talks about how the mattress giant has been doing during the lockdown and her expectations from the festive season

How do you see the consumer sentiments in the South markets this year? What kind of rebound do you see in these markets during the festive season? What factors will drive this growth? How much do you see festive sales getting impacted due to COVID-19 this year?

We are well into the second quarter of the year and consumer sentiment has been very positive for the brand. We are very strong in the South market and regional sentiments are really important to us.

We kicked off our Onam campaign in the beginning of August. When it kicked off, it was very gloomy because of the situation in Kerala, especially with the rains, but now we have seen an upswing and a lot of demand is coming back. Looking at the numbers, we feel that the festive season has come as a time to take solace from the pandemic and as a way to come out positive. During the pandemic, being at home and celebrating with the family has become extremely important.

I think consumers would want to spend and they will definitely increase spending on categories which are about home which will make them feel more secure and comfortable in the space that they are in.

Being a leader in this category, especially in the South market, we have definitely seen an upswing. Sales have been very encouraging, especially because throughout the pandemic and even now, we have been making conversations on health and safety.

We have focused on communication about how important it is to own a good quality mattress, especially while you are spending more time on it now. We are also launching a new product, which is a mattress protector which will help people stay safe at home. It is India’s first Anti-Viral mattress protector. With the affordable pricing, we plan to enter every home with this product.

What kind of integrated marketing activities are you planning for the festive season? On which platforms will you be investing your ad spends more and Why? What kind of digital push are you looking at?

Many festive campaigns have spoken about the celebration of this season, however we are staying away from that as it isn’t realistic in the situation we are in.

Because of the category we function in, we have focused on a communication about sleep building immunity. We really want to be real and we want to treat festivals from a moment where there is an opportunity for customers to buy better quality products to feel safer at home.

All of us know today that digital has been a very strong medium, and luckily for us, we got onto that pretty early on. We have made very strong conversations on digital and will continue to do that. Along with digital, even TV will be extremely important for us because many people are watching TV now.

Do you see retail footfalls increasing during the festive season, given that people are still not venturing out for shopping in a big way? What alternate routes are you looking at to shore up sales – such as e-commerce, online purchases, D2C initiatives?

As an omni-brand, it is very important for us to be available at all touch points and make sure we are communicating about our products and educating the audiences about sleep.

In terms of Retail, it has improved as compared to Q1. We have launched our outlets in Bangalore, which are doing very well under the current guidelines. People are feeling safe to come and try out the products.

We are also reaching the consumer through D2C channels through virtual experiences of the store, online shopping or on phone. We are providing all options to the consumer according to their comfort. We are making sure that we are available everywhere.

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