TV ad volumes of over 190 categories see a drop in the last two months

As per the recent TAM Adex data, categories like auto, personal care/personal hygiene, F&B, and paints have shown the maximum drop in ad volumes during April-May'21 when compared to Jan-March'21

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Jun 2, 2021 9:06 AM  | 5 min read
tv ads

The business of the broadcast industry is not likely to take a hit as adverse as last year. Several sectors had already prepared themselves when the COVID cases in the country started increasing in early April this year, unlike last year, when the sudden nationwide lockdown brought the industry to a complete halt. Categories like FMCG, E-commerce, Edu-tech, OTT, and other social media platforms have continued to spend on advertising, not just last year but this year as well. However a key indication from the recent TAM adex is that more than 190 categories have shown a maximum drop in advertising volume during April- May'20 compared to Jan-March'21. The Two-Wheelers category was at the top among the categories with maximum ad volume drop in Apr-May'21 over Jan-Mar'21. 

Other categories in the top ten include cars, biscuits, retail outlets-jewellers, paints, life insurance, fairness creams, hair dyes, moisturizing lotions/creams, and sugar confectionery.

Mansi Datta, Chief Client Officer & Head - North & East, Wavemaker India states that it should be noted that categories like personal care hygiene, food and beverages, household products, consumer durables, ecom services edtech, mobile handsets, banking, autos, and financial products pump in their ad spends and get active with their marketing activities only in summer. Datta hinted that while April saw most of the brands continuing their activity that they had planned out, the month of May did see a lot of non-essential categories like consumer durables,  autos, paints, retail, outlet etc, dropping their ad campaigns. “Much investment that was riding on IPL got cancelled with its suspension," she observes. 

Datta also highlights that this year's lockdown and restrictions across states started from early April, hitting a peak in May and while the industry is yet to see how things pan out with the current lockdown, she hints that what's clear is that this lockdown has seen less of an impact on TV spends as compared to last year's lockdown. 

“It all depends on the extent of lockdown imposed, consumer sentiment, employment status, disposable income status, and availability linked with physical distribution or delivery. The learning from previous lockdowns is that there is a demand for enhancement-oriented offerings relevant to COVID /lockdown times. These may be mental enhancement like the edtech category, home enhancements like household durables, personal/health enhancement like health/hygiene oriented products, financial well-being enhancement like insurance products, entertainment enhancements like gaming solutions, and OTT subscriptions,” she contends.

According to the Pitch Madison advertising H1 report 2020, FMCG increased its dominance in TV AdEx with a share of 56%, higher than the 2019 figure of 49%. It was primarily due to increased advertising by newer COVID categories in personal hygiene, such as sanitiser, hand wash liquids, disinfectant sprays, and multiple products related to immunity building. E-commerce, including OTT and other social media platforms, also contributed to 8% of the overall TV pie last year. 

Some categories like Travel, Tourism, Beverages, Auto, and Durables that showed de-growth last year have been impacted this year as well. Interestingly, some of these categories are among the top spenders on TV, observes Vishal Shah, Managing Partner of media agency-MediaCom.“These categories that have shown drop are among the top spending categories on TV and therefore, the impact on TV advertising is visible,” Shah asserts. Furthermore, he adds that apart from TV, some of these categories are also big spenders on other mediums. “For instance, Auto as a category is also big on print and digital. Similarly, retail is substantially big on print since they do a lot of local advertising,” he notes.

As per the experts, FMCG will continue to increase its dominance on TV this year as well.  However, given the current situation and uncertainty around it, brands have become cautious and have tightened their purse strings when it comes to ad-spends directed to this medium. "FMCG brands have considerably reduced their spending and are now spending less than 50% of what their usual spends. The other categories haven't stopped advertising but have brought down their spending," said a senior media planner who did not wish to be named. 

However not all the categories and brands have reduced their budgets due to the lockdown impact. Some brands are generally seasonal advertisers. For instance, brands like Joy Cosmetics usually spend money on TV during a specific period. 

Poulomi Roy, CMO, RSH Global, shared that the company hasn’t cut down its budgets but instead follow a seasonal advertising strategy.  "Every year we invest heavily during February- March and, to an extent, April as well. 

"The maximum amount of money spent on TV is between these two, two and half months. The moment IPL starts, we go a bit low on our overall spending. We were lucky enough that by the time the pandemic could hit and people were confined to their homes, we exhausted 80% of our planned budget for the 'Facewash' category, which we started promoting in February this year," shared Roy. 

She further added, "Generally, June-July- August are lull months for us. We don't promote anything due to the rainy season and are back at advertising around the festive season followed by the entire winter. " The brand spends 70% of the budgets on mass media, whereas the rest goes on digital. 

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