South market bounces back as positive consumer sentiment boosts ad sales ahead of Onam

According to media planners, the maximum spends will come in the following weeks

e4m by Simran Sabherwal & Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Aug 11, 2021 10:54 AM

With Onam round the corner, the south market is seeing a significant growth in ad sales across medium, with print taking the lead. Pent-up demand and relaxation in Covid-19 related restrictions have opened up the market just before the festive season leading to higher media spends.

“Onam being the biggest festival in Kerala will definitely lift up the mood of the local masses. There will be upsurge in overall spends in the market during Onam,” said Kaushik Chakraborty, Senior VP, iProspect.

The past three years have been challenging for the south market, especially Kerala, on account of the floods coupled with the pandemic. And since this year, Onam comes after a two-month-long restriction imposed by the government, it is bound to uplift the sentiments and mood of the consumers for a celebration, said experts.

According to them, fast fashion, consumer durables, auto and supermarket brands are the top categories when it comes to advertising.

“Telecom and consumer durables players are spending more than previous years with the focus largely on news genre. Jewellery, textiles, spices and mixes are some of the other categories focusing on Onam festivities. Another sector that has hugely picked up in Kerala is local online edu-tech. Their spends have surged in the last few months and will continue to be that way till the time Covid-19 restrictions don’t allow schools or colleges to reopen,” said Uday Mohan, President and Head – North and West India, Havas Media.

With the new regulations taking effect from August 5, shops and retail stores will be allowed to operate full-time. In addition to that, suspension of flood cess imposed by the government in 2018 (1% of the bill value) will also lead to price reduction in many categories, especially large value items like cars and electronics, resulting in revival of the economy.

According to him, print is still very strong in the market but the spends are mainly driven by brands that are promoting some kind of offers or discounts. Consumer durables and B2B categories are using print extensively, with customized Onam communication. “Radio and Digital are growing but the base is very small. TV is still the preferred medium of choice leading the spends across mediums,” he said.

Breaking down media mix strategies of brands Nitin Menon, Managing Partner and Creative Director, The Local Network, said, “Print is still the lead medium for brands. Leading newspapers like Manorama and Mathrubhumi are definitely leading and are almost a default part of the media mix. Then there are a lot of brands that include a fair mix of national and local that has seen effectiveness in the digital media so digital is a go-to medium for them for reach and impact in a short span of time.”

Explaining spending patterns, Raju Menon, managing director, Maitri Advertising Works Private Limited said, “There are two prominent advertiser categories in the market. Very established brands who have some reserve with them are investing now while the second group of people is cautious but they know they have to retain the market share so they are also advertising but with 40% lower budgets.”

However consumers are waiting to step out and experts foresee more advertising to come up in the last legs of the festival day.

“The auto, jewellery and retail sectors have been very active so far.  National players, particularly white-goods, have also just started to advertise and are expected to continue till the end of the month,” said Radhika Ramani, Managing Partner – South, Motivator India.

On a positive note, she adds that consumer sentiment and demand for this Onam looks to be up:  "While the number of Covid cases is still high,  the markets have opened and people are not as tentative stepping out as they were last year. From the conversations we have had, we estimate that overall sales will be up 20-25% vs. 2020."

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