How are Brands Welcoming the 2020 Festive Season in the New Normal
Written by
Surya Panicker

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How are Brands Welcoming the 2020 Festive Season in the New Normal

Published : November 4, 2020

Festivals have always been the most awaited time in India. A 4-month frenzied affair encompassing celebrations, ceremonies, family get-togethers and loads of shopping. However, this year is going to be the first after the novel coronavirus pandemic and needless to say, the festive season will be subdued as compared to previous years.

Nevertheless, after months of staying locked at home, away from meeting family and friends, the arrival of festive season is like a breath of fresh air. There will still be shopping and gifting and merry-making, but as per the new normal.

Customers Prefer Going the Online-shopping Way

The spread of virus has brought about a drastic change in consumer behavior shuffling their priorities to the hilt. Online store continues to be the preferred way for safe shopping with a surge in first-time buyers from Tier II and III regions.

In a recent survey conducted by LocalCircles, over 60% Indian respondents said that they would prefer some form of contactless shopping over physical stores.

Consumer Statistics

Owing to this situation, many online retailers expect to capitalize on this opportunity and make up for their whole year’s revenue. While many marketers have learnt to sail their ship amidst this storm, many are still battling with the waves to survive. So, here are some interesting marketing practices at play that are worth getting inspired from.

E-commerce Brands Experience Fierce Competition

The 3 big retail brand giants- Amazon, Flipkart and JioMart (the new kid on the block) are expected to be the top contenders to dominate the festive season. According to a report, marketers expect to see a substantial increase of upto $7 billion in retail sale in comparison to last year which was $3.5 billion. Electronics, fashion and home furnishing are some of the categories that see a huge demand during the festive season.

  • Flipkart Adds More Home Category Products To Its List

According to Flipkart officials, “COVID-19 has conjured up new demand patterns across product categories, including furniture, as people spend more time at home.” Flipkart has also broadened its work from home (WFH) furniture seller count with brands such as Wipro and Featherlite by over 30% percent.

To further boost the customer interest, Flipkart is offering easy credit options, by collaborating with 17 leading banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and fintech players on the platform, which will drive credit accessibility for over 70 million customers on the platform.

  • Amazon Expands Its Reach To The Rural Ranges

On the flip side, Amazon India Director Suchit Subhas said over the last year, has enabled thousands of small sellers in the furniture category to get online and access a nation-wide customer base. He added that these include furniture sellers from several artisanal hubs of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh that are known for their unique furniture designs across the world.

Observing the shopping trends in Tier I and II regions, Amazon has swiftly extended its network to rural regions in the northeast way ahead during the festive sale to achieve more traction. According to an e-tailer, “Amazon has partnered with local entrepreneurs as part of the Delivery Service Partner program, enabling these small businesses with growth opportunities and helping Amazon India to penetrate into tier 3 and tier 4 locations in the North East with its own delivery services”.

  • JioMart Joins the ‘Festive Sales’ Bandwagon

Moreover, with Jio Mart joining the league, this online festive sale is expected to be a contested face-off. Making a grand entry with JioMart Festive Ready Sale, the brand is offering unlimited deals on almost all festive essentials. Looking at the massive money saving deals and cashbacks, it will be safe to say that Jio will definitely break into the top 3 e-commerce players in India backed by its vast retail presence, ownership of supply chains and cross category campaigns.

Aside the e-commerce giants, many brands across industries are counting on festive season to hike up their revenue and make superior profits. Some of these industries include automobile, jewellery, fashion and beauty industries, to name a few.

SIAM Doubles Production and Sales to Meet Festive Demand

Automobile is expecting a good return this festive season. In a recent interview, President Kenichi Ayukawa of SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) said that they are increasing production and sales to cater the inflow of festive demands while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.

Electronics Sector Expect Robust Sale of Home Appliances

Appliances sector witnessed positive response during Onam in August. The industry leaders are anticipating a double-digit growth in the upcoming festive season. According to the sellers, the absence of domestic help and work from home culture are the key drivers behind the growing demand.

Appliances such as washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerators, etc., will be on high demand says the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA). Brands like Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Sony, Voltas and BSH Home Appliances also project a higher demand of new-age premium products such as large screen TV and big size refrigerators besides dishwasher, microwave ovens and washing machine — which have proved their worth during the lockdown.

Jewellery Brands Go Light This Festive Season

Talking about the jewellery industry, the jewelers are supposedly restocking the gold for the festive and wedding season. With demand for gold revived, merchants now expect to see good yield by the end of the year. To keep this demand ticking, many brands are maintaining a low key on premium products.

The popular jewellery brand Tanishq is launching light-weight jewellery to make it more affordable, with focus on promoting jewellery pieces with lower price point. The ad campaign #TheLightInMe features Mitali Palkar as brand ambassador that sets the festive context of showcasing the many facets of Mia consumers and how they light up their celebratory spirits amidst the murky times.

In some cases, merchants across India expect to see a 60-65% jump in the total business revenue during the ongoing festivals and wedding season.

Fashion and Apparel Makes a Strong Comeback

After a weak first half of the year, biggest online fashion & beauty market places Myntra and Nykaa are gearing up for a strong rebound. Fashion was the hard hit category nationwide. However, as the Indians take tentative steps towards shopping, brands are expecting an uptick in demand. Both Myntra and Nykaa have been keen on building converstions that resonate with customers and echo to their festive needs.

Myntra, for instance, has been using celebrities to lure audiences across regions towards their festive sale collection. Ayyappan Rajagopal, Head of Business, Myntra, says “We are working towards scaling our festive season to two times that of last year…This festive season, our marketing efforts will be led by the power of celebrities who have a wide audience appeal cutting across regions.”

Meanwhile, Founder and CEO of Nykaa, Falguni Nayar says, “As we enter the festive season, we expect a pickup in the makeup category, especially colour cosmetics.”

Real-Estate Developers Launch New Schemes & Offers For Home Buyers

Real-estate developers are nowhere behind in this race. Diwali and Dussehra has been the evergreen auspicious occasion for home-buyers and realty experts are banking on the festive season to drive their sales volume. Many real-estate developers are introducing offers, discount, gifts and flexible pay schemes to woo home buyers.

For Instance: Tata Housing has announced ‘Wow is Now’ scheme, which enables customers to pay only a 3.99% interest rate for one year. The rest of the interest is to be paid by Tata Housing. In addition, customers have been offered gift vouchers ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 8 lakh depending on the type of properties booked.

On the contrary, The Runwal Group has come up with a bouquet of offers for its projects in Kanjurmarg and Mulund. The offers include zero GST, zero stamp duty, zero floor rise charges, and easy payment plans.

Immunity Booster Sells like Hotcakes

With the pandemic-led festivities approaching, there is a rise in demand of health and wellness products, especially immunity boosters and immunity-related products. The current market size of the Indian nutraceutical industry is worth nearly $2.1 billion, and is projected to grow at 20% year-on-year in the next 5 years.

Personalization Stands on the Forefront, This Festive Season

Understanding customer’s shopping preference during this festive season is the first step to prepare your festive sale strategy. Therefore, personalizing customer experience will be of utmost importance during this festive sale. COVID-19 has brought a paradigm shift in consumer behavior and marketers have to keep track of this changing expectations. The new normal customers expect personalized experience throughout multiple touch points and brands who understand these expectations will thrive exponentially.

Festive season is the best time to build personalized experience, as customer expectations are on peak with people creating their wish lists across multiple channels like website, mobile app, social media etc., alongside shopping at regular intervals throughout the end of December. This allows marketers more scope to engage and communicate with their customer and get maximum sales. Netcore’s AI-powered omnichannel personalization platform can help you engage customers seamless across all the touch-points, giving a unified view of all your customer activities and accelerate sales volumes.

Mobile apps are gaining more popularity in India. This festive season is likely to see a surge in mobile-based purchases mostly driven by offers and flash promos. Mobile apps provide customers with convenience of faster checkouts, personalized products recommendations based on past behavior inventory. According to a survey led by criteo, 80% of shoppers responded that they feel as comfortable and secure using mobile for online shopping as they do while using desktop/laptops. Hence, with the growing community of mobile-first customers, marketers need to build a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy that caters to the evolving needs of the ‘new normal’ festive shoppers in an innovative and frictionless manner.

Parting Thoughts

While the second half of the year looks promising for both marketers and customers, people need to ensure that they take proper precautions to sustain the spread of COVID-19, as the threat is not over and continues to loom in the air. With the latest developments of the festive frenzy, health has taken a back foot and that can be something to worry about. For example the state of Kerala saw a spike in COVID-19 cases recently because of the onam celebration. Kerala was initially the first state to have highest recovery rate and low death rate. However, during onam celebration, people threw off their caution in the wind and had to pay a big price today. Keeping this situation on mind, PM Modi recently appealed to people to not let their guard down as the pandemic is far from over. Therefore, in the public interest and safety, festivals of this year need to be attained as a personal affair rather a public celebration.  And brands have to ensure that they follow all the protocols for a safe and successful festive season.

Hope all these points were helpful to you. So get set and seize your moment!

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Written By: Surya Panicker