Brands across sectors are expecting a hike in sales as Diwali celebrations are on full swing
While the Coronavirus pandemic affected businesses across various sectors, some witnessed overwhelming demand even during the lockdown period. The food & beverage sector being essential, needless to say, saw high demands.
On the other hand, the preference for personal mobility due to apprehension around shared modes of transport has given an unprecedented push to the automobile sector. With Diwali almost here, brands across sectors - including the food & beverages sector and automobile sector with its ancillaries - are positive and hopeful for a boost in sales during the ongoing Diwali celebrations.
Talking about the consumer sentiment on-ground, Nishanth Chandran, Founder & CEO, Tender Cuts, a tech-driven omnichannel Meat & Seafood Compan, says “Since March 2020 when the lockdown was imposed, a strong upward trend was observed in customer demand and sales online.
Even after the lockdown was partially lifted the trend of increase in online sales continued and the retail outlets also saw an increase in walk-ins & sales. We had also witnessed an uptick in customer awareness, especially on the hygiene front. People moved to procure meat at organized stores like TenderCuts. TenderCuts is looking forward to opening more stores in our existing market & looking to enter new ones. In the last two months, we have opened five new stores in Hyderabad & Chennai.”
Echoing similar thoughts, V Srikanth, Head - Marketing, Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt Ltd (KRPL), the manufacturers of Gold Winner Oil says, “Consumer sentiment is quite bullish and we see it heading upward. As we are an essential commodity, we have not seen any dip in business during the pandemic. As people were confined to their homes in Q1, the consumption of edible oil increased significantly. We have grown in double-digits in Q2 and in some markets we have done better than our expectations.”
With gifting being a big part of Diwali, Soulfull - millet based snacks and cereals brand - has introduced gifting options for its consumers. Prashant Parameswaran - MD, Soulfull - Kottaram Agro Pvt. Ltd. elaborates, “We believe that the consumer sentiment on-ground is more hopeful filled with anticipation and a yearning for good times ahead to be spent with their loved ones. Mixed with this optimism uncertainty still remains in people travelling. With this in mind, we started our campaign, #GiftHealthToYourLovedOnes where consumers can gift our new product “Healthy Delight” to their loved ones with a customized photo and/or a message.”
Madhavan P, EVP- Sales and Marketing, TVS Srichakra says “The current consumer sentiment is one of cautious optimism. There is a lot of positivity and hope as one looks forward, at the same time there is a sense of caution as lives and livelihoods bounce back to normalcy.” With the auto industry witnessing an upsurge in demand, he expects a spillover effect of the pent-up demand. “As an industry, the two/three-wheeler market is witnessing double-digit growth and we are all expecting to benefit from the pent-up demand of consumers from various sectors. We are definitely optimistic about prospects in the foreseeable future and we will continue to focus on key growth drivers like digitalization of our sales process, distributor network & capacity expansion among other factors that positively influence the Indian tyre industry,” he says.
Capturing The Festive Spirit
As is the norm, most brands have released campaigns timed around the festive season. For Madhavan, the outlook for this festive season is very different from what it was last year. He explains, “Last year, our focus was on brand awareness alone as we had launched our new Brand TVS Eurogrip around this time. This year, apart from building awareness, we are incentivizing the user to make the purchase through consumer scheme that offers instant gratification. To this end, we have launched a massive national consumer promotion “TVS Eurogrip Tyre Mela”, themed around the festivities of the season and celebrating the optimism with which the Indian consumer is looking forward.”
For KRPL traditionally Diwali sees a surge in demand but this year is muted. Says Srikanth, “Traditionally during Diwali, we see a phenomenal upsurge. This year while there has been a surge, it is not in-line with what has been seen in the past and not as buoyant as it used to be.” However, the brand has upped its investments and will continue with spends post-Diwali. “We did not spend a lot on media in Q1. However, come July we doubled down on our spends in July and spent money on TV, Print and online. This quarter we are increasing our spends further and Q3 spends will be higher than Q2. In Q4, we have Sankranti, another big festival for us and we see another surge in terms of spends in Q4. Compared to last year, we have doubled our ad-spends this year,” says Srikanth.
On his part Parameswaran adds “Compared to Q2 this year, we have upped our ad-spends by 50%.”
Unlike most brands when sees an uptick during the festive season, for TenderCuts, demand drops as many consumers refrain from consuming meat products. Chandran says, “As we are in fresh meat and fish category consumption goes down during this festival season. We are still spending more than double compared to last year considering the growth both in terms of sales and number of new outlets. We have planned some massive digital and ATL campaigns just after Diwali where we will be spending more than 5x of our spends last year.”
Digital Heavy Media Mix
A major shift brought about by the pandemic has been the shift of ad-spends to Digital. Though KRPL has a 360-degree media mix, it has upped its digital spends significantly. Says Srikanth, “65% of our spends are allocated to TV, 25% to Print. We plan to spend 10% on Digital this year. We were not spending so much Digital earlier but we have seen a lot of eyeballs across social media platforms. We want to quadruple our investments in Print and are moving in that direction.”
Emphasising the importance of digital as the thrust area for the company, Madhavan says, “The pandemic and post-pandemic eras have seen an enhanced emergence and understanding of the digital medium and digital engagement is now extremely important for our target audience. We have been consistently investing in digitalization and consequent to the recent developments, our sales systems and processes are now on a path of accelerated technology adoption. From a marketing perspective too, digital medium is the key thrust area for this year with other components of the media mix supporting this endeavour.”
Sharing a similar sentiment, Parameswaransays, “Post the pandemic, we have taken a digital-heavy media mix focussing on building a robust, agile and responsive presence online where we believe most of our current and future target consumers exist. Our spend allocation will be largely on Digital this year and going forward too.”
Along with digital, Tendercutsi s also looking at OOH. Says Chandran, “We are an omnichannel brand and we cater to both offline and online customers, henceforth our marketing spend is always spread across all channels. However our focus this year will remain on digital marketing and OOH.”