“Festive season will be the first phase of optimism in the business sector”

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.

In conversation with Adgully, Anand Dubey, CEO, Compaq, speaks about how India remains a swiftly growing market in terms of consumerism, a trend that will not change even in COVID times.

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?

I think the propensity to spend is what has taken a hit due to the current COVID crisis, some of which is a very direct hit to consumerism through job cuts, loss of employment or rationing from the corporate structure; and some of it is perceived and is the result of the diminished risk appetite of consumers. However, India remains a swiftly growing market in terms of consumerism and that trend will not change. Everything that comes higher in the need pyramid has already started showing growth and that is how different markets will progress. For example, FMCG and medicine are showing signs of acceleration in growth, soon consumer durables will follow. Of course, festive season this year is not looking as bright as expected pre-COVID, yet it will be the first phase of optimism in the business sector. Some of the degrowth is not necessarily a result of demand, but in many sectors a result of diminished supply due to other prevailing conditions other than COVID.

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?

For us at Compaq Televisions, we have just launched in India this month and this initial period till the end of the upcoming festive season is all about creating awareness about the products under Compaq. Like a lot of brands, our marketing is pivoted around digital. Social and e-commerce-based marketing will take up a large piece of our marketing pie.

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?

Not right away, we will see a conservativism in people’s inclination to come out and go to brick and mortar to shop, which I think how it should be, at least for now. But physical retail will most definitely re-attain its significance, as the overall experience of shopping is a very important element of consumer behaviour. In the current scenario, e-commerce is the key driver and we are already seeing that in our industry with a significant spike in the share of sales of televisions on e-commerce platforms in the last quarter over the corresponding quarter last year. Online is naturally bound to dominate shopping this Diwali.

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