A lit Diwali for FMCG players as festive mood sparks sales

Indian brands, emboldened by dropping covid cases, are pulling out all the stops with new launches and aggressive ad campaigns

e4m by Shantanu David
Updated: Nov 1, 2021 10:24 AM
retail

After sluggish 18-odd months, Indian FMCG brands are looking at dropping Covid cases and resurging sales ahead of Diwali to rally their presence and profit margins with new launches and aggressive advertising campaigns by going to the heart of Indian festivities. Namely, our stomachs.

And even as WFH continues for many industries, organizations are engaging with their employees and customers by sending anything from small tokens of appreciation to hampers filled with goodies.

“In our country, where purchase decisions are primarily driven by emotions, the festive season comes with a huge bonus of reminding our customers about Indian culture by associating it with our products. With respect to the packaged snacks and sweets category, the festive season is a great opportunity for businesses to 'up' their sales and nearly 25-30 per cent of traditional namkeen and sweets sales happen during the festive season. With the festive season starting from Rakhi and stretching till Diwali, the demand for in-home snacks rises further, helping us capitalise on the season and further boost our sales,” says Dawinder Pal, Head of Marketing at Bikano.

Uday Mohan, President & Head - North & West India, Havas Media, notes, "A lot of festive specific packaging, cross-promotions, etc. are devised during this time to encourage consumers to buy more, for example, party packs of one-litre soft drinks, large family pack of chips, and even free internet data with the purchase of these snackable items."

Kaushik Chakraborty, EVP, iProspect India affirms, "As the COVID19 cases are reducing across major cities, the festive spirit is at a high compared to the previous year. The run-up to the festive season has seen an increase in the sale of packaged foods, subsequently, leading to significant growth. Beverage sales have witnessed 20% plus increase despite September being the off-season. FMCG companies have also lined up new product launches, gift packs and are rolling out several festive offers.”

Chakraborty notes, “Spends behind video advertising are witnessing an increase with a focus on TV, YouTube,  OTT and Social Media. Brands are also investing in short format videos. After witnessing reduced investments in 2020, spends on Print medium are back to 2019 levels with brands leveraging impact positions to attract consumers.

"Historically, TV has been a brand-building medium. Digital, on the other hand, has always provided higher engagement to brands. On Digital, the focus primarily has been on OTT, YouTube and E-commerce," notes Mohan. "Apart from this, there are a lot of new-age avenues which provide higher viewability and engagement, such as music apps like Gaana, Spotify, etc. Consumers on an average spend close to 2.5 hours daily on audio and this provides a huge platform for marketers to reach out to their audience at a relevant time."

And of course, where there are sweets and snacks, there is the quintessential chai. Parimal Shah, Founder & CEO, Cherise India Pvt Limited, elaborates, “Festive season is a crucial time for a brand like us. It’s a time where demand is high in the market and with better logistics, SCM and marketing strategies, one can achieve better results. In our country, tea and coffee are not just beverages, rather they are an integral part of our day to day lives.”

And indeed, even beyond chai, coffee is making a killing. “Over the past few months, Indians have slowly been bouncing back after months being in lockdown. With celebrations being trimmed down last year, everyone has been super excited to celebrate the festivities this year in full swing. With employees being spread across the country thanks to WFH, corporates have allocated budgets towards spending on gifting as a form of employee engagement” says Ajai Thandi, Co-Founder, Sleepy Owl Coffee.  

Tata Starbucks has also announced the launch of its all-new corporate gifting platform that provides consumers, employees, business partners and clients an array of custom options to celebrate festive gifting.

“Gifting has been an age-old tradition during Diwali, and thanks to technology, it only takes a few clicks to have a present sent to your loved ones. D2C brands like us are seeing a surge in both, offline and online channels, especially with platforms like Amazon facilitating faster deliveries,” points out Thandi.

As Chakraborty notes, “FMCG sales have witnessed an increase in September vs August, primarily led by discretionary items such as snacks, sweets and beverages. We can expect further increase during the Festive season, as people will indulge in the pleasures of munching. Also snacks, sweets and beverages are good gifting options too.”

Pal agrees, saying, “Keeping in mind the expected surge in sales during the festive season, we have recently launched a new range of chai time snacks. Festivities offer a good opportunity to reconnect with current and prospective consumers. Brands can employ different tactics like leveraging social media to increase visibility, stand apart by using innovative ways like launching a new campaign, distributing coupons or providing discounts and employ a seamless omnichannel experience to increase customer engagement.”

Keeping them company is Haldiram’s had earlier introduced Misree, a premium Indian sweets brand that aims to elevate Indian mithai in the gourmet space.  And it’s not just big mithai brands.

NOTO, a low-calorie ice creams and fruit pops brand, began in Mumbai, but is using the festive season as impetus to take the next big leap. Ashni Sheth, Co-founder & Director, NOTO says, "Having achieved a loyal customer base in Mumbai, we're finally spreading our wings and plan to cover all major cities. We want to expand the healthy ice cream vertical, give customers new fun flavours in different formats, and cater to specific lifestyle and dietary requirements such as vegan, keto, high protein and more.” The brand is now available in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru as well, with plans to continue to pan-India.

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