How can marketers make sense of the upcoming festive season in India – The Drum

The festive period has always been important to Indian shoppers and has become even more so in the post-pandemic world that has left everyone with fewer reasons to celebrate and indulge. But it is not all that simple, with the festive season sales presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers in India, according to a recent consumer survey ‘The Festive Season Pulse 2021’ by The Trade Desk and YouGov.

The survey looks at the emerging trends around India’s festive season sales (for Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas), both on the overall consumer sentiments as well as the media channels that are defining the emerging consumer segments, the understanding of which can help maximise the effectiveness of marketing spend.

It would help marketers to build a full-funnel strategy for success, shares Tejinder Gill, general manager at The Trade Desk India with The Drum.

What it means is: “expand beyond social media and look to implement a media strategy that reaches consumers on the open internet as they listen to music, watch TV and movies online, read online news”, he adds.

The prolific open internet has provided new opportunities for marketers to add these channels to their digital marketing mix, enabling them to influence the consumer at every stage of their journey. Upper funnel formats such as OTT and music streaming are key to driving awareness of festive season deals and promotions, shares Gill.

Unravelling the post-pandemic festival shopper

  • Nearly three in five Indians are excited about the upcoming festive season sales with nine in 10 planning to make a purchase during this time.
  • However, building brand loyalty can be a tough task more so in the sale season. Indian consumers tend to be ‘brand switchers,’ as more than half of Indians (53%) are neutral or indifferent to the brands that they purchase.
  • In addition, six in 10 Indians are interested to learn about new brands during the festive season with women more likely to be interested than men (68% versus 58%).

Festive time – a mixed bag

  • It’s a mixed bag and festive season sales present an ideal time to capture the attention of both ‘brand switchers’ and ‘brand loyalists.’
  • With the excess of choices consumers have today, coupled with their propensity to spend during the festive season sales, there is a clamour among brands to make the most of their shopping enthusiasm by offering ‘brand switchers’ deals where they see the most value for money.
  • To retain ’brand loyalists,’ marketers can look beyond last-mile marketing and, instead, drive brand fundamentals by staying top-of-mind throughout the consumer’s digital journey, as per the findings.

Gender rules and media choices

  • Women are more open to ads during the festive season sales and give reasons for marketers to target women well in advance for festive sales as opposed to targeting men, who may have pre-decided needs for their shopping.
  • From a media choice perspective, consumers are turning equally to the open internet as they are doing to social media to inform their purchase decisions. Not much of a surprise there, with the number of time people are spending at home on the open internet, consuming content such as watching OTT, streaming music, and reading online content for entertainment.
  • On the channel mix with the biggest impact on the purchasing behaviours, channels on the open internet were at a sizable 34%, which includes video streaming platforms (OTT), music streaming services, websites and mobile apps while social media stacked at 33% followed by traditional offline channels (direct mail, traditional TV commercials, outdoor advertising and word of mouth) at 32%.
  • The growing importance of OTT and music streaming in helping consumers’ discover new deals and promotions is an important shift.

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