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DIY is driving demand across segments: Gulbahar Taurani, Philips

The great Indian Festive season has started 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. 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.

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 also seeing a general mood of optimism.

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, in conversation with Adgully, Gulbahar Taurani, Vice President - Personal Health, Philips Indian Subcontinent, shares his perspective on the festive season and market sentiments. He also shares insights on Philips’ plans this festive season.

How do you see the consumer sentiments across the nation this year? Which markets are seen as leading the rebound and how? What factors will drive growth this festive season? How much do you see festive sales getting impacted due to COVID-19 this year?

With gradual re-opening of the economy, we are seeing consumer sentiment improving. We experienced an initial surge, as there was a pent-up demand for household & personal grooming appliances. Given the raging pandemic outside, DIY has become a trend that will stay and is driving demand across segments. The interesting thing about this demand is that we witness similar surge across different regions of the country and even across Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets. Initially, Metros led the momentum as they were also the worse affected by the lockdown. Gradually, all markets have caught up with the sentiment.

Now that we are just entering the festive season, we anticipate that the positive momentum would continue. People would continue to be cautious about stepping out very frequently and festival celebration is likely to become a stronger personal/ family/ DIY affair that will fuel purchases in this segment. However, there will be ample caution exercised – consumers will be wary of spending on products that come as fads and don’t necessarily add value, there will likely be an even stronger shift in favour of trustworthy, innovative brands like Philips, as consumers would want to spend their hard earned money on good quality products only.

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?

Festival season holds a special place for the appliances industry and brands, including Philips, have robust plans in place every year to maximise share during this period. This year also, Philips will activate relevant categories like grooming and household appliances and will craft propositions that consumers would love. You will witness robust visibility across key media platforms with a strong focus on Digital, primarily because that is where consumer time spent has gone up dramatically. Like all smart brands, Philips would also be where consumers are. In fact, our digital spends have almost doubled in the last few months and we expect to increase them even further as we approach festival.

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?

I believe that this festival season will see a healthy growth in both offline and online channels as each of them have unique offerings on the table. Online gives consumers the convenience of buying products from the safety and comfort of home, while stores give them the confidence of immediate availability and retailer trust – convenience, speed and trust are all big currencies this season. We also anticipate channels to roll out initiatives to give confidence to the consumer – it could range from safety protocols being followed in store, to home delivery options, to Whatsapp catalogues to exclusive offers. The consumers will be spoilt for choice.

Philips, in specific, follows an omni-channel strategy and we will continue to strengthen our play in offline stores through clutter-breaking visibility, exciting on-spot offers and personalised shopping experience with all health protocols maintained. On e-commerce, we will amplify visibility on platforms and partner with customers on their big events to ensure that we gain share on platforms as well.


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