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Consumer electronics to drive India's festive season adex, focus on TV and digital

While Q2 demand shrank for smartphones and laptops with supply and distribution challenges, brands in Q3 are gearing up with new launches as they foresee pent-up demand. Giving a slight boost to adex, brands plan to invest on digital and TV, mostly around IPL

Laptop and smartphone manufacturers are likely to revive India's overall advertising expenditure as they are hoping for a good spike in demand in the festive season. TV and digital would be the mainstay for top consumer electronic brands, which may go slow on print.

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Shivam Ranjan

Since technology products are critical enablers for these consumer needs, Shivam Ranjan, Head of Marketing at Motorola India, believes the demand for such products will be robust.

“As supply and distribution gets back on track with lockdown measures being relaxed, consumption of products in the smartphone category should definitely bounce back in the festive season. While the overall smartphone category should see a significant QoQ growth in Q4, we expect to grow with a significant premium,” he added.

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Sooraj Balakrishnan

Speaking on behalf of the laptops/PC category, Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head, Marketing, Acer India, said, “We are seeing good sales across our channels. Conversions are much higher as we see more in-market audience coming to the store. People are going for higher end and premium laptops as they prefer more powerful and thinner machines. Gaming laptop has witnessed good momentum even in the lockdown. We hope our consumer PC business will stay strong for the year.”

The Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted businesses but the consumer PC space witnessed good momentum, he said.

“PCs have become an essential device as mobile phones hit a ceiling when it came to doing anything productive or online learning. Gaming witnessed growth as people have more time at home. Consumers are becoming more aware of the need for a modern PC at homes as more things move online. This is a perfect time for the PC industry to play a pivotal role in the digital transformation,” he said.

Consumer sentiments across categories have been moving gradually from shock to fear and finally to acceptance where a new normal has been identified and people are adapting to it.

And with this, Ranjan doesn’t foresee demand softening for products and categories that are in genuine demand among consumers. “Smartphones and technology-led products will clearly benefit from these consumer trends,” he added.

Balakrishnan believes adex will grow as the situation improves and he expects media spends to pick up around festive time.

The overall smartphone market saw a decline of nearly 48% in Q2, given the supply and distribution challenges that arose due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19. 

“However, with pent-up demand and a host of new launches in Q3 from multiple brands, I feel the adex should see limited impact from the category during the festive season, specifically with respect to digital and television advertising,” said Ranjan. 

Brands feel it is more about realigning the strategy and using marketing budget wisely now compared to pre-Covid-19 situations.

Balakrishnan said that in the short term, digital will drive more spends but as the situation improves, the company will expand mediums by observing consumer trends and shopping behaviour.

Ranjan believes Q3 will be a strong indicator for categories that will continue to see an upswing in the festive period both in terms of revenues and ad spends.

“Profitability will be key and hence driving business metrics will become equally important if not more important than brand metrics while deciding advertising spends. This may impact large spends on sponsorships and purely brand-oriented impact buys during the festive period,” he added.

“Mediums like digital will see increased spends as audience spend more time on phones, laptops and OTT platforms. Advertisers will move where the audience is and that’s natural as they want to maximise ROI. We are also seeing media consolidating their offerings to ensure they remain relevant. Print would have affected in the short term but as situation improves, I am sure we will witness a bounce-back,” said Balakrishnan.

Ranjan said mediums, including print, radio, OOH and cinema, have seen maximum slowdown due to external constraints along with changing consumer behaviour and are most likely to see the trend continue.

But he added that TV and digital mediums have gained significantly in the last few months and should continue the momentum in the festive season.

While Balakrishnan feels that big ticket properties like IPL will bring in large advertisers, he said, “This year's schedules have altered due to the pandemic and IPL falls with the festive season and competes with other networks for advertising money. The networks that do not have IPL but have other compelling content will continue to attract advertisers. I feel the ad spends will need to be well thought-out with some big ticket events like IPL sure to bring in large advertisers.”

He said that the event will present a great opportunity for brands to create impactful visibility and only add to the options to advertise during this festive season.

IPL is certainly a reach and GRP guzzler and will clearly pose a threat to advertisers and networks across genres, Ranjan said. However, unlike previous years, he said GECs have a line-up of strong impact properties that will not only help advertisers who are not able to hop on the IPL bus but also help networks with healthy investments from advertisers seeking alternative opportunities for visibility.

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