Did the lockdown accelerate the digitisation of India Inc?

Industry experts discuss whether the spike in digital consumption coupled with the decline of other modes of advertising during the lockdown will lead to a paradigm shift for marketing

e4m by Sanstuti Nath
Published: Apr 28, 2020 8:23 AM  | 3 min read

Nothing impacted the global economy so severally, in recent times, as the COVID-19 pandemic. Various surveys suggest that the consumers’ behaviour and their outlook towards life will see a permanent change in the post-lockdown world.

Another thing the lockdown impacted was our digital consumption. With restrictions in place against stepping out, a report by WPP suggests that there had been a 82% surge in social media consumption post lockdown and 453% more people are using the digital medium to consume news. E-commerce witnessed a 70-100% growth for shopping of essential commodities.

This sudden increase in digital consumption, along with most other modes of advertising currently ineffective, has accelerated the process of adapting the digital medium as a preferred choice for marketers.

"We have been witnessing a gradual transformation to mobile advertising with a significant advertising budget being allocated to digital. Not to forget the large scale adoption of 4G network in India that led to faster browsing speeds coupled with one of the lowest mobile data prices in the world. However, the lockdown, resulting in a sudden surge to online activities,  we're going to witness a major spike in advertising, more into digital - mobile advertising, once the COVID-19 pandemic infection spread subsides. The new normal has changed and will see a shift in budget allocation in the coming months, moving away from conventional advertising. In fact, we have already started to see those trends now, in the present”, said Arun Gupta, Founder and CEO, MoMAGIC Technologies.

Adding to Gupta’s statement, Maithily Sarkar, senior manager, marketing and branding, Amplus Solar said, “Amidst the shrinking circulation of the print, corporates have shifted their focus and funding in favour of digital, a more promising platform for branding and advertising in the current scenario. Brands were already capitalising on digital due to various benefits of the platform, like a greater scope for experimentation or more accurate measurement of results.”

She added, “The pandemic has just catalyzed this transition of media from print to digital. Having said that, every media has its own benefits and charm, and it entirely depends on the objectives!”

The marketers who had already adapted to digital have increased their focus on the medium post lockdown.

Gaurav Taneja, General Manager, Amatra Hotels & Resorts, is one of the early adaptors of digital as a mode of communication with the consumer. He said, “We believe hospitality was one of the early adopters of shifting advertising budget from print to digital advertising campaigns. As more and more frequent travellers have been reading about properties and popular tourist places on their phones and tabs, it is easier to reach our target group effectively with more control over costs, quality of leads and image building. Post this current pandemic, we believe the focus on digital and mobile advertising will become core to any marketing campaign and print will only provide the support role."

The allocation of ad spends on the digital platform has also increased. Marketers are realising the potential of the medium and putting money into it.

Ankush Kaul - President (Sales & Marketing) - Ambience Group explains, “The current state of the market offers an opportunity to development firms to market their projects through the online space. As a result, companies are utilizing resources across the digital space, including video-led walkthroughs, Skype and Zoom enabled client and partner meetings and even sharing of marketing collateral, brochures, legal documents, etc. in the electronic format. In the past two months, spend on digital presence has increased and will exponentially increase going forward. These efforts have kept the interest of buyers in continuum for a possible sale post the lockdown period.”


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