‘Wants’ will be louder, brighter & have a larger license this festive: Snehasis Bose

With half the year gone, brands’ and agencies’ focus has now turned towards the upcoming festive season. Though the peak festive period of Dussehra-Durga Puja-Diwali is about three months away, preparations are already afoot to woo consumers with various promotional strategies.

Over the years, the festive season has expanded – from the tradition period of Dussehra-Durga Puja-Diwali, it has moved forward to August, coinciding with Independence Day marketing frenzy, followed by Raksha Bandhan. This then moves forward to cover the entire Onam period – though traditionally Kerala’s biggest festival, Onam today has assumed a more pan-India significance.

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The festive season now doesn’t end with Diwali, but we have started marketers beginning to bring in the mostly Western festive concepts of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In January, the traditionally harvest-based festivals of Lohri, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Magh Bihu are also being tapped as occasions for festive shopping, albeit on a smaller scale. Republic Day has also turned into a major sale occasion. These apart, Holi and Poila Boishakh/ Rongali Bihu, also see spurt in shopping in regional markets, more specifically West Bengal and Assam.

On top of it all, e-commerce platforms keep the sale season alive all round the year with some kind of offer or the other.

While the two years of Covid disruptions did dampen the festive spirit in the market, but with the IPL tournament being held during the festive seasons in 2020 and 2021, saw brand spends on a high during this period, even though consumers mostly stayed away from offline retail outlets.

Adgully’s special column FESTIVE MOOD seeks to give a holistic insight into ad spends, marketing strategies, consumer sentiments, promotional and communication plans, and more, around the festive season in India.

In the first of the industry conversations, Snehasis Bose, Chief Strategy Officer, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, speaks with Adgully on the festive sentiments in 2022, a stronger return to the pre-pandemic levels, and much more.

How buoyant is the consumer sentiment compared to the pre-Covid times (2019) as well as the two years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021)? What are the factors spurring this positive sentiment?

Pre-Pandemic festive sentiment translated to coming together (ergo travel) and licensed consumption fuelled by ‘never-before’ deals.  

Post-Pandemic all the above interpretations will continue and be magnified by the knowledge that we managed to control the unknown and survived to tell the tale. ‘Wants’, this festive, will be louder and brighter and have a larger license. People will figure out how to navigate the pressures of inflation, especially in entry level segments, and prioritise so that they can get closer to living-up in the Post-Pandemic-normal.

Which categories are expected to witness greater traction in the upcoming festive season and why?

Across the spectrum, be it real estate, cars, two-wheelers, travel, electronics, fashion – the expectations are of a return of increased consumption to Pre-Pandemic days. Discretionary/ low-frequency FMCG categories might continue to feel the pinch of inflation, and value conversations could help in their come-back.

Online or offline/ retail – which do you see having a greater share of festive season buying?

There will be a correction of the online vs offline ratio across most categories. The convenience surge that forced-isolation gifted online retail will get re-balanced to near Pre-Pandemic levels. Large sections of consumers will want to re-experience the touch and feel, the hospitality and the negotiation-hustle in offline retail.


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