Experts are hoping to see the advertising industry generate around Rs 7000 crore, 12-15% higher than last year’s festive season
Brands are pinning a lot of hopes on the festive season this year to help them bounce back.Pixabay
Consumers are spending a little extra money to spruce their homes now to welcome Maa Durga and then prepare for India’s...
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Experts are hoping to see the advertising industry generate around Rs 7000 crore, 12-15% higher than last year’s festive season

Consumers are spending a little extra money to spruce their homes now to welcome Maa Durga and then prepare for India’s...
  • While festivals will still be celebrated either virtually or in small groups this year, consumer sentiment has already shown early signs of improvement due to recently concluded Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • With a steady monsoon, plump harvest so far and IPL returning, advertising industry is hopeful that the ongoing festive season will bring in cheer and serve as a respite from the pandemic-associated slumber. It will help the ad world bounce back to normalcy.
India is the land of festivals and every festival is celebrated with great pomp and joy in this country. While the recently concluded festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which is otherwise known for its fanfare and grand celebration, was affected due to the pandemic, it has brought in early improvement in consumer sentiment. According to Axis My India report, 42% of families said they will shop more or the same as compared to last year. This gives an indication that there is a sense of cautious optimism and the pent-up demand or degree of revenge shopping that happened last year might not be the same this year. This expected increase in spends is higher among private and government service employees. The spends increase on essentials like personal & household care is at 47%, an increase of 4 percentage point over last month.

Consumers are spending a little extra money to spruce their homes now to welcome Maa Durga and then prepare for India’s biggest festival, Diwali. Ergo, brands are pinning a lot of hopes on the festive season this year to help them bounce back. They have started working on their advertising campaigns in full swing to win back consumer trust and help shape the market sentiment.

The progress of the advertising industry has always been in tandem with consumer sentiment and about 40-45% of the annual ad spends in India happen between Raksha Bandhan and New Year. In many ways, advertising is a lag and lead indicator for our country -- if the country's GDP is growing at 8%, advertising grows at 12%. If GDP falls, ad revenue falls even lower. In 2020, when ad revenue had reached as low as -60% in April, a lot of hopes are banking on the festive season this year for industry’s overall revival.

Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India said, “With the increase in the vaccination numbers and positive market sentiments, the festive period is poised for a stronger, and better recovery from 2020. It is estimated that the festive season will generate advertising upwards of INR 7000 Crore, which is approximately 12-15% higher than last year’s festive season and is expected to provide big support to the growing economy.”

This Indian festive season is coupled with IPL, which is a gigantic festival in itself that drives advertising industry’s revenue and holds the power to alter market sentiment. Joshi said that the return of IPL 2021 and a slew of high-impact properties like the ICC T20 World Cup coupled with reality shows like the KBC 13, Bigg Boss 15, Dance+6, and several mega OTT releases will make it a festive bonanza for all stakeholders.

Hari Krishnan, CEO, Mullen Lintas is also optimistic about seeing a better recovery than 2020. He said, “Last year, it was cautious optimism. This time around, there seems to be a lot more confidence post-vaccination and the optimism appears to be a lot more reassured. That apart, there are two big cricketing events and that’s definitely going to bring a lot of eyeballs back to television. It’s a great reach platform and something that brands would be eager to be a part of. There’s every chance that this festive season could see a lot of pent-up shopping happening which different categories could benefit from.”

Experts said that digital will lead the game as advertisers have been shifting their monies from traditional to virtual platforms.

Sahil Shah, Managing Partner, WATConsult said, “I reckon it will be a 60-70% jump in certain categories who will go even more aggressive. And compared to pre-covid levels, overall spends should be 15-20% higher. I think digital invariably will see the maximum percentage-wise growth followed by TV and then other mediums. From a marketing point of view, data-led communication will gain more importance and so will eCommerce investments. Also, marketers are experimenting with newer ways of reaching the consumer through innovative content and experiences which is an area that the overall digital marketing industry will surely move towards.”

Digital media to take lead, followed by TV and print

Rishabh Mahendru, AVP, Client Servicing, AdLift is expecting to see ad revenue grow by 10%-15% this year. While digital is likely to get the bigger chunk of the pie, he said that Facebook (Instagram), OTT and YouTube will be in lead within that sector. He also said if there’s another lockdown, e-commerce will still continue to flourish.

“Time was more uncertain last year, still the e-commerce industry saw a growth of more than 50% festive orders. This year, we should see same or better results,” said Mahendru.

On the other hand, Unmisha Bhatt, Chief Strategy Officer & Director, India and MENA Region at Tonic Worldwide said that brands will explore LinkedIn this year.

She said, “Innovative campaigns will be seen by brands on LinkedIn considering the rise in engagement by professionals on LinkedIn. High Reach/Awareness platforms like TV and Outdoor will remain a part of the integrated pie and will see the same demand as earlier. However, the platform which will see the most growth over the previous years is digital since its gained relevance.”

Sharing a few other trends which we could see in digital marketing, Bhatt added, “Video commerce and live stream shopping is one of the new trends that we will see coming up soon. And remember teleshopping? We will soon see the rise of that on digital too! Seamless user journey and functionalities will emulate the retail environment to ensure consumers don’t miss the retail experiences. This means, technology-based experiential marketing with AR/VR and Mixed reality to ensure consumer recall, as well as engagement, will see a rise too along with experience commerce which enables sales. Conversation commerce will also pick up in the form of chatbots as it leads to faster responses for the impatient consumer.”

Digital adoption accelerated by the pandemic has drastically changed the way audiences consume media. This has also paved the way for content creators, bringing them into the spotlight.

Prachi Bali, National Head Client Partnerships & Business Head (North), FoxyMoron (Zoo Media) said, “Besides the usual engagement platforms of FB, IG & YT, regional and nano influencers are seeing a great deal of interest. Also, regional and smaller content/publishing platforms are finding their way into media plans. Brands want to build a stronger consumer connect by making the content work harder, multiplied by language and platform, rather than making stand-alone traditional pieces of content. Consumer-facing technologies that drive engagement such as filters, interactive ads, shoppable videos are the trends we will see brands adopt as they all encourage social commerce. ”

While brands and advertisers are extra cautious this year to commit big monies on media after 2020 and will be looking at ROI from their media investments, they still want to make hay while the sun shines.

Prasad Shejale, Founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital said, “Advertisers will tend to focus on all the possible mediums and attract more and more audiences. I am positive that they will scale up equally across different mediums now and hence, all the mediums are sure to grow. With such a focus, I foresee even the bottom-funnel channels to grow. Looking at consumer behaviour and preferences over the past few months or years, I feel video channel will witness a huge growth as there is a dire need to break the clutter nowadays. When I say video, it will be video in every way whether it is video on demand or on social media or OTT. Having said that, while we know that the advertisers will try to make the most out of the festive season and explore different formats or platforms, a lot of them are also focusing on the right measurement infrastructure that helps them understand the impact properly and also provides useful insights to plan for future activities.”

Auto industry, e-commerce and travel to be the big spenders

As per the data from Gipsi, (Tonic’s AI and HI research arm), search queries have risen by 3x across categories like online shopping, travel, automobile (specifically SUV’s segment), fashion, and gadgets over 2019.

Experts also opined that auto will see a boom because consumers are now avoiding public transport. Other categories that popped up in our discussion were EduTech, E-commerce, OTT and travel.

“People have begun travelling, offices are slowly opening up. Traffic is back on the roads and the restaurants are filling up slowly. This year, fashion & accessories, FMCG, Durables, EdTech, FinTech and most of the new e-commerce/online brands should be active. We could see some action from auto sector as well,” said Krishnan.

Joshi also shared his optimism about spends from the auto and e-commerce industry.

He said, “Automobile, gaming, education, beverages, FMCG, cement, tyres & consumer durables are some of the categories that will re-activate their marketing plans in H2. Given the advertising clutter during the festive period, brands will need to drive awareness and stay top-of-mind throughout the consumer’s purchase and consumption journey.”

Apart from these obvious ones, Shejale highlighted that the travel industry, which suffered the most during 2020, has finally started picking up. He said, “Firstly, I am sure travel will revive and has already started picking up. As the travel industry flourishes, the hotel and hospitality will grow too. Apart from these, retail (online as well as offline) will also recuperate and continue to grow.”

Trends so far have only indicated that consumer sentiment is improving, which is more likely to continue growing during the ongoing festive season.