Retail rejoices as festive season amps up sales across categories
However, the industry maintains an air of cautious optimism admitting that the fear of the third wave is still rampant amongst customers, impacting offline sales
With the growing festive fervour, the Indian market has opened up tremendously to welcome shoppers who have long been looking for a reason to spend after months of a lull caused by the second wave of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the retail industry is set to do record business, this festive season, as indicated by several reports. According to a recent Forrester report, the Indian festive season will generate $9.2bn in just online sales, up a whopping 42% year-on-year from 2020. The key players across sectors are showing a positive inclination towards offline numbers too.
CaratLane Cofounder & COO Avnish Anand is quite pumped up about the festive sales as he shares, “This festive season we are seeing a very strong consumer demand across the country. It started building up in the past two months and is now gathering steam as we head into the season. Our key price points of sub INR 40,000/- continue to do really well. All the collections we have launched recently - Kanak and Dunes are doing exceptionally well.”
For apparel and accessories, the market sentiment looks quite promising, as it is every year during the festive season. That’s why the market players are not seeing a revenge buying trend, but something that contributes to the sector immensely each time.
Westside - A Tata Enterprise - Head of Customer Umashan Naidoo highlights, “We see a good lift in non-apparel areas such as Westside Home, StudioWest Beauty, LunaBlu Footwear, and Wunderlove, and it’s thrilling to see baskets that complete the look. In my opinion, Revenge Buying is not the right term, the festive season is about dressing up. It brings optimism and the spirit of celebrating people, love, life, food, the occasion calls for a spoil and that is what the customers do.”
The electricals and appliances players are also very positive about the demand in the market, however, there is an air of cautious optimism among the players.
Haier Appliances India Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing N.S. Satish says, “For Haier, Onam was the kick-start of the festive season. While physical celebrations were disrupted due to the pandemic, we saw consumers taking the festive fervour to social platforms. We experienced a positive response from consumers during Onam celebrations and we are optimistic that this positive trend will also reflect in the larger festive season with an uptick in consumer demand and an increase in the sale of Haier products.”
On the other hand, Bajaj Electricals Limited Business Head – Consumer Products Krishna Raman doesn’t see a scope of pent-up demand as it was in 2020, because of the looming fear of a third wave. He elaborates, “We do expect a natural surge in sales during the festival season. However, this year we don’t see the massive pent-up demand that was seen last year, especially as the cloud of the ‘third wave’ still lingers. The general sales trends hover at around 25%- 30% during the festival quarter depending on the channel & product. The offline channels do about 85 % of the sales & the remaining comes from online channels.”
He adds that while sales are steady for the time, there is nothing out of the spectacular expected in terms of market performance.
Marketing Fiesta with Exciting New Launches & Offers
To make the most of the opportunity that lies out there in the festive season for the retail market, the industry is going on a 360-degree marketing spree, packed with interesting offers and also new launches.
Satish notes, “At Haier, we are always on the lookout for ways to address the evolving needs of our consumers through new-age innovative products. To drive awareness and strengthen our brand recall, we will be implementing an aggressive marketing strategy as part of which, we will be soon launching our new 360-degree integrated pan-India campaign that will help in breaking the clutter to carve a niche for the brand. Overall, we are very hopeful of a good festive season and expect to achieve decent growth over last year.”
Raman shares, “We would be investing a little more than what we had in FY2019-20, which was considered as a near-normal year barring the last month of FY2020- 21 that was impacted due to the pandemic. Our maximum advertising investments would be in the months of June to September.
“We have launched multiple new products since June 2021, like the ‘Bajaj Ivora Range of LED’s’, ‘Bajaj Anti-Bacterial Fans’ and ‘Bajaj Air Coolers’, and top of the line ‘Mixer Grinders’ like Herculo which has hit the shelves & some more models are underway. In light of the festive season, we launched our latest television and digital campaign titled “Kaam Ka LED, Kamaal Ka LED, Bajaj LED” earlier this month which was very well received in the industry and with the consumers. The new Campagno Water Heater model comes with Child Safety mode, and we also offer models that are tankless and instant water heaters, and some that have the auto shut-off feature. Another unique offering is the power saving fans in the BLDC Range. It is safe to say that we continue to remain the consumers’ first choice and are being prepared for any type of demand during the festive season and post that as well.”
Touching upon CaratLane’s marketing plans, Anand notes, “Our integrated Omnichannel strategy is falling nicely into place. Traffic to the website and apps is up by almost 90% last year and all channels - stores, online, CL live, Free Home Trials, and WhatsApp are working together beautifully to deliver higher conversion and growth over last year.”
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