Not very long ago, Diwali and New Year were the only two occasions in the year where we shopped, ate and danced away, even went on holidays and spent on things which we otherwise wouldn’t. We would save up our hard-earned money for offers and promotions showered during this time. Therefore, one big festival in the year: Diwali, and more than 3000+ brands and marketers struggling to compete with each other and make a mark.
The Big Shift
But the last few years have changed the landscape completely. Boston Consulting Group has projected total consumption spend in India will rise three-fold to $4 trillion rupees by 2025, growing at more than double the global rate over the coming years. “India is probably now the most aspirational country in the world,” says Sridhar Gundaiah, the founder of StoreKing, an online shopping platform in small towns and villages across 10 states in the country. “As people jump a class, they want status symbols to flaunt,” says Mr Gundaiah. Now consumers do not wait for bigger festivals like Diwali to spend on electronics and other items. Now there are many occasions panning into regional and local festivals like Pongal, Onam, Chatth, Navratri, Vishu, Raksha Bandhan, Baisakhi, Holi and more! Offers are raining across the year while consumers are now spoilt for choice on what they’d like to spend on, and when. Also, the way urban India is celebrating has changed.
For instance, festival spending is no longer just about traditions and home-cooked sweets (think besan laddoos and mathri). Nor is it the one occasion in the year, other than birthdays when people splurge on buying new clothes or consumer durables. According to Live Mint’s article: “India is celebrating everything and doing it differently”, the focus has now shifted from nationalism to regionalism where marketers are focusing on regional festivals to attract consumers.
It’s Diwali throughout the year… almost
Consumer Confidence in India increased to 105 Index Points in the second quarter of 2019 from 104.60 Index Points in the first quarter of 2019. This is one of the highest in the world. (Source: The Conference Board) This shows that Indians are very optimistic about the economy in the upcoming months of 2019. Unlike previous years, consumers are not only more confident but even more experimentative than before. In this land of festivals, regional ones are increasingly becoming tactical opportunities for brands to increase sales and engage with not only customers, but also trade channel partners. A recent research suggested that a whopping 96% look for coupons/rewards for every buy which shows how competitive it is to satiate an Indian consumer. Beyond the nitty-gritty of the festival and spending patterns, lies the innate understanding of rewards given away via a festive promotion that customers enjoy.
While many brands are battling for expensive TV spots, billboards, and print ads, the Indian audience is turning to quick offers and deals especially sales promotions (in a marketer’s lingo) much more often. The average Indian consumer is now so spoilt for choice, so much so that he expects an accolade after every buy, which is a measure that every marketer must cater to NOW. To win their attention via regional promos as seasonal competition heats up, here’s some ideas for brands looking to target the right TG at the right time throughout the year.
Festivities and Regional Promos
Celebrated in: West and South of India
Insight: Pongal festivities are celebrated in the southern part of India on a large scale on January 14 every year. Makar Sankranti that occurs during the same time period is a harvest festival of the West. During this time, people celebrate the occasion with buying gold and silver.
Ideal for: FMCG and Consumer Electronics brands to give away gold as a part of sweepstakes which would make as a great offer to induce repeat purchase.
Coming up next: 14th January 2020
Celebrated in: North of India
During: First week of March
Insight: Considered the festival of joy and colours, Holi is now one of the top opportunities on a marketers list. Apart from huge bonfires and water guns, people visit each other’s house to play colour.
Ideal for: Alco-bev brands who can run campaigns around ‘drinking responsibly’. FMCG brands can run attractive bundling regional promos to increase ARPU.
Coming up next: 9th March 2020
Celebrated in: Most of India
Insight: Throughout this time, as Muslims focus on pillars like compassion, self-control, and social responsibility (among others), daily habits and consumer patterns change, affecting entire countries and populations around the globe. In India, Eid is an occasion where retail therapy tops most consumer desires!
Ideal for: Retail Brands to stand up and take notice of this period as a potential Diwali-like scenario. Social media linked contests can be held to increase footfalls at stores. In order to also increase the average spends, assured gifts with purchase is the perfect fit for the season.
Coming up next: 23rd May 2020
Celebrated in: West of India
Insight: Consumers are spending big on Raksha Bandhan after Diwali and Dussehra (Recent research study from IMRB). Rakshabandhan is always good news for brands and companies because they have an event that falls right before the big festive season.
Ideal for: FMCG and Retail Brands can run test regional promotions during this period of mid-August to mid-September in order to measure customer interest in different kinds of promos – be it assured gifts with every purchase or even large-scale sweepstakes.
Coming up next: 15th August 2019
Celebrated in: South of India
Insight: The festive occasion of Onam, puts an emphasis on culinary tradition. Restaurants offer Onam Sadhya, that attracts consumers to eat out and celebrate. Eating out has become a regular trend during festivals.
Ideal for: Marketers can take this opportunity to offer dining rewards via a festive regional promo. Dining rewards have become very popular. More families and couples are opting to celebrate together outside, rather than having the lady of the house slog in the kitchen. Thus, proving that your customers have more time to spare for loved ones during the festive season. A free fine dining session for a couple or family adds more value to a product compared to discounts.
Coming up next: Starting 1st September 2019
Celebrated in: East of India
During: October – November
Insight: The beginning of perhaps the happiest point in a calendar year in India, Durga Puja – celebrated over nine days and Dussehra are twin festivals that bring loads of joy to the people here. This also marks the beginning of the most important festive season in India. With not just shopping for women and electronics for men, this season has over time seen growth in other sectors like toys, stationery, FMCG ready to eat products and more.
Ideal for: FMCG, Electronics, Retail and almost every sector can target audience basis their spends to offer innumerable rewards from across categories via regional promos during this season.
Coming up next: 4th to 8th October
Celebrated in: North of India
During: October – November
Insight: In Northern India, women are now celebrating Karva Chauth on a larger scale. The festivities go beyond a private celebration between the couple to a group salon session followed by a fancy dinner at a club.
Ideal for: Retail and FMCG sectors – the opportunity created here is fresh as marketers haven’t always considered ‘Karva Chauth’ as an occasion to run a regional promo. The market is unexplored and this festive TG untapped.
Coming up next: 17th October 2019
The age of the consumer
Given the trend in higher disposable incomes and higher spends during festive occasions, the opportunities for brands across sectors is only growing. Brands can now try new creative ways to engage with customers and run a regional promotion. In festive times like these, marketeers and brands are now getting more and more personal. It’s almost as if marketers are weaving offers and regional promos for smaller and smaller consumer segments rather than a mass burst; which showcases how difficult it is to convert regional promos to sales. But worry not, because we have the right formula for a big bang – A campaign that fits your brief, budget, and positioning. Talk to our experts today: firstname.lastname@example.org.