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Diwali preparations give a makeover to Covid-hit home décor & furnishing category

The industry is expecting a spike in sales and several players are looking forward to touch the pre-pandemic sales numbers this festive season

e4m by Mansi Sharma & Simran Sabherwal
Published: Nov 1, 2021 8:14 AM  | 8 min read
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According to traditional Hindu beliefs, Goddess Lakshmi, the provider of wealth and good luck, resides in cleanliness. Therefore, amongst many rituals of Diwali, one is to clean the house and prepare it for the arrival of the goddess. That’s why, traditionally, the Indian festive period around Diwali, is a great opportunity for brands in the home decor and furnishing segment to increase their sales in the market. This year too, the consumer sentiment is on peak and the industry is all geared up for making good sales during the quarter.

The paint market, which reportedly grew by 15-20% after last Diwali, is gearing up for an exciting festive season this year as well. AkzoNobel India MD Rajiv Rajgopal shares, “While decorative paints purchase happens throughout the year, the festive season traditionally is a key growth driver for the paints industry. The demand buoyancy during festivals followed by the marriage season typically contributes around 25% to 30% to industry sales. The 2021 festival has started on an encouraging note. For most Indian families who are increasingly spent more time at home, consumption has increased in the home improvement category including paint. Acting as a further tailwind to this is the pent-up demand returning to market, especially now considering the increasing vaccination spread and consequential decline in Covid-19 active cases. At the same time, the almost normal monsoon, record kharif harvest and increase in MSP have further driven disposal income and positivity in the hinterlands.”

Home decor and furnishing options are also high on the consumer’s mind this year, as people are excited to welcome guests home after months of isolation because of the second wave of the pandemic.

HomeTown CMO Medha Tawde says, “It is that time of the year again when most Indians are looking to renovate their homes. The festive quarter sees a spike in home furnishings, décor and home and kitchen essentials categories. For HomeTown, the festive period contribution is around 12-15% of overall sales.”

She adds that this year the demand is more than what it was prior to the second Covid wave and the brand is wanting to take it to the pre-pandemic levels. “After spending weeks cooped up at home, consumers are excited to celebrate the festive season and are planning on big purchases for their home. With the return of normalcy and after a year and half of restrictions, consumers are looking forward to celebrating the festivities with family and friends. Gifting, therefore, is going to be a very big opportunity this year. We expect to see huge growth in furnishings, tableware, kitchenware, and gifting. We are also seeing a spike in the sale of some of our hero products like sofas, dining, and beds. On this festive occasion, a lot of consumers are moving into their new homes. Therefore, we are seeing a huge spike in interiors and kitchens.”

Pepperfry Chief Marketing Officer & Business Head Kashyap Vadapall shares similar sentiments, “We see a 60%-80% spike over normal months during the festive season. About 35%-40% of annual sales happen in the festive quarter. The split is similar across both online and offline channels. We expect to grow by 40%-50% over the last year, in this festive season over last year’s festive season. We’ve been seeing upward momentum in sales starting July, so in my opinion, most of the revenge buying in our category possibly happened in the JAS quarter, the upward spike in OND is partly the festive effect and mostly the impact of people moving more aggressively in to readymade furniture, both online and offline and more so online.”

Even the mattress category is poised for a robust quarter as Duroflex Chief Marketing Officer Smita Murarka highlights, “The festive season surely is a critical period for the category. High quality mattresses and sleep essentials are an important purchase when it comes to upgrading one’s sleep space, and hence, a lot of people purchase them as a part of their festive shopping. Around one third of our sales happen during the festive season.”

She adds that Duroflex is seeing an increased demand for its research-backed sleep essentials. “The pandemic has brought a renewed focus on health and wellness. There has been a lot of focus on immunity-boosting habits like getting eight hours of restful sleep. Most consumption decisions are pivoted on health and wellness. The festive purchases are no exception to this,” she elaborates.

 

Big celebs & big marketing spends

The brands in the category have worked on interesting festive campaigns, most of which are now being headlined by A-listers from Bollywood.

Vadapalli highlights that Pepperfry is spending Rs 15-20 crores on marketing this festive season, which is around 20% of their overall marketing budget. “This time we have boarded Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan as brand ambassadors for the first time. Our communication is based on the insight that our core TG is interested in making their home a reflection of themselves and they take pride in the same. An aspirational couple is a perfect representation of what Pepperfry can bring to their lives in the context of furniture. From a media perspective, while more than half of the spends are focussed on performance and conversion, we also have brand love oriented creatives and campaigns that are increasingly focussed on OTTs and other digital and social video platforms.”

Speaking about Duroflex, Murarka says, “We have special campaigns and a proportionate budget for the festive season. We are ensuring an omni-experience for the consumer irrespective of the channel the consumer journey is starting. We have fortified our national presence through our experience centers where the customer can experience our wide range of mattresses and sleep accessories before they buy it and consult sleep experts to know what would be best for them. The footfalls are actually higher than ever this festive season.”

Giving more details on the brand’s festive marketing campaign, Murarka adds, “We had kick-started our national campaign with Alia Bhatt to build the message of ‘Nothing Like Duroflex’ when it comes to branded mattresses in August. Our Diwali campaign with Alia is ‘Change Your Sleep, Change Your Life’ encourages consumers to consider good sleep essentials as a festive investment option. For Durga Puja, we collaborated with eminent actress, Monami Ghosh in the east to double down on the message of meaningful changes this festive season. This is also in conjunction with our category expansion - furniture and bed linen being our big festive launches. While there are attractive festive offers across categories, we also have a nationwide scheme of a free antivirus protector with any mattress.”

Even AkzoNobel has its focus on improving its experience centers for the consumers. “As pioneering experts in the paint industry committed to delivering on the high expectations of Indian consumers, AkzoNobel is bringing colour to festivities. For the consumer, a brand’s quality promise is now more relevant than ever before. Our Dulux AssuranceTM Program, the first-of-its-kind initiative in the industry, assures Dulux consumers of Perfect Colour, Uniform Finish and Coverage. An extensive 360-degree campaign is bringing alive this ‘Expert ka Promise’.”

At the same time, AkzoNobel is leveraging its global expertise to deliver truly differentiated propositions that are innovative and designed to improve the consumers’ quality of life, he adds. “This is where our product launches, timed for availability during the festival season, are creating new excitement in the market. For example, our recent offering ‘Dulux Better Living Air Clean BioBased’ - India’s 1st Biobased paint (certified by USDA) with 26% bio-based sustainable content, actively neutralizes indoor air-pollution and offers health and wellness benefits for consumers. This launch is being communicated across regions via outdoor and digital campaigns. Similarly, Dulux SuperClean & Dulux Promise value-proposition has been upgraded with Antiviral and Anti-bacterial properties.”

Tawde highlights that HomeTown has increased its marketing budgets to 20% from the usual 14-15% for the festive season as sales is expected to grow big this year. “To leverage the positive consumer sentiments, we are all set for the festive season. The month-long period leading to Diwali is lined up with Great discounts. We have offers like Moneyback, Free gifts on furniture and household products including a FREE Rocker chair on purchase.”

She concludes, “This festive season (also) marks the launch of our new brand campaign ‘Make Space for New’ across multiple platforms including TV, print, outdoor, along with digital and social media. This campaign is a 360° nationwide campaign focused on providing home interior products, services, solutions, ideas.”

 

 

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