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We’re more optimistic this festive season with a stronger approach: Amit Kothari

After a muted festive season last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the willingness to spend is higher. As per a ZestMoney Survey, 72% of Indians plan to splurge on electronics & gadgets, while 59% prefer BNPL to fund festive purchases. 62% of the respondents revealed that festive budgets have gone up compared to last year. A recent market research by YouGov gives a big boost to the Diwali Expense Index, which is generally indicative of Q3 sales growth in India.

The Indian festive season is a crucial time as consumer demand is at its peak with many planning several small and big-ticket purchases. With increased vaccination and the general opening of the economy, the survey has witnessed a positive sentiment around budgets and shopping at physical stores, even as online shopping continues to be popular among people.

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As part of Adgully’s FESTIVE MOOD series, we have been covering the market, brand and consumer sentiments during the festive season this year. In conversation with Adgully, Amit Kothari, Head Marketing & Communications - H&M India, speaks about the company’s plans to capitalise on the festive fervour, the key trends seen this year and more.

What kind of trends have you seen in Consumer spends, ad spends by brands & sales during this festive season? 

With the lockdown being lifted and businesses getting back to normal with necessary precautions, there has been a shift in the mindset, with everyone being more positive and hopeful with an overall outlook of looking towards a brighter future. Therefore, we anticipate this shift being reflected in higher consumer spends this season.

Lending from that thought, ‘Brighter Than Ever’ is conceptualised to bring to life that positive emotion of joy as we reunite with our closest family and friends, all brought together by hope. Festive being the biggest campaign for H&M India, we have ensured our strategies and campaign assortments are designed to create local relevance. Overall, we all are more optimistic this season with a stronger approach and mindset, which will have a positive impact on the industry as well. Since festive campaign is important for us, we have strategised at an omni-level to ensure that our customers have an easy, inspiring and convenient shopping experience – in-stores and online.

What is the kind of online/ offline split is seen in brands’ marketing strategies? 

At H&M, our business idea has been to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way – with the customer at the heart of everything we do by constantly working towards making their customer journey seamless. Therefore, both channels are equally important – we have ensured the campaign is launched at an omni-level to give our customers the option to shop in-store, online or on Myntra, our marketplace partner.

From the design process to the shopping experience, we’re always working with the objective of knowing our customers better and engaging with them with the purpose of making it possible for everyone to look and feel good. For every campaign, our strategies are designed to guide and inspire customers to find the right fashion products – both in our stores and online. ‘Brighter Than Ever’ has been shaped to embody that and much more.

What is your overall festive season spends for this year? What kind of campaigns and marketing strategies have you drawn up to engage with your consumers this year?

At H&M, our purpose is to make it possible for everyone to look and feel good. This continues to be our focus not only for the festive season, but through the year with collection launches catering exclusively towards the needs of our customers by keeping a nice balance between global and local launches, designed for each business unit. For example, Maisie Williams for H&M Divided, Harry Potter for H&M Kids, Spring Fashion and Designer Collaborations such as Simone Rocha for H&M Ladies. Additionally, we’ve been introducing local campaigns that cater exclusively to the Indian market, for example, Holi, Linen along with the launch of Sabyasachi X HM, our first ever Indian designer collaboration.

For the second half of the year, we’re excited to introduce ‘Brighter Than Ever’, our biggest festive campaign that is designed to be relevant through the festive season in India.

We’re proud to have ‘Brighter Than Ever’ launched for the second time after last year’s successful response. While last year’s campaign was all about intimate gatherings and virtual get-togethers with many of us homebound, this year the campaign captures the essence of the feeling of hope as we all look forward to celebrating, but with all precautions – whether it is celebrating alone, with a loved one, or with our closest friends.

The film brings together a diverse and inclusive cast of personalities who represent the ethos of the brand. It captures the different and unique ways we come together to make the most of festivities. The film is divided into 3 scenarios: A party of one, which is played by actor Rajkummar Rao; A couple meeting after a long time to celebrate together, which is represented by Sanjana Sanghi and Ishwak Singh; along with a reunion among a group of close friends, which includes a diverse cast, including Adarsh Gourav –  each one of them brought together with the emotion of hope.

It also sheds light on the concept of Recycling – which is at the core of the brand. This Diwali, for those looking to recycle old clothes, H&M’s Garment Collecting Initiative allows customers to hand in used and old garments, any pieces of clothing, from any brand and in any condition are accepted. In return, the customer will receive a voucher for each bag brought to encourage circular fashion. Our loyalty members also get conscious points for bringing in their own shopping bags at the store.

From a collection standpoint, it has been exclusively designed for India with a wide assortment of festive style and a colour palette that blends into everyday life as well as celebrations. Featuring unique styles for Ladies, Men’s and Kids, there’s something for everyone with price points starting at ₹699 for kids, ₹999 for Womenswear and ₹1,299 for Menswear. The collection also features the usage of more sustainable materials in the collection such as Tencel, Organic Cotton and Recycled Silk, as we pave the way towards a sustainable fashion future.

We want to continue engaging with our customers through innovative campaigns and launches – always striving to create inspiring stories and great shopping experiences.

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