Real estate is one of the top-selling categories along with automobiles, jewellery and consumer durables in the festive season, which contributes 40% of the sector’s annual ad spends.
The sector, which was hit hard by the Covid pandemic, is generating a steady cash flow and is optimistic of further growth this festive season as consumer sentiment looks high and positive. The sector foresees favourable economic and market conditions to encourage demand.
Post-pandemic lifestyle changes such as organisations allowing work from home and people looking for better and greener spaces to reside with all facilities, has resulted in a big demand for affordable homes between Rs 25-70 lakh in cities and towns.
Pradeep Aggarwal, Founder and Chairman, Signature Global Group and Chairman, Assocham National Council on Real Estate, Housing and Urban Development, said the housing market is expected to perform double the normal in this festive season.
Ad spends, he said, can go up by 20% this year.
With the economy reviving and the situation slowly normalising, Prashin Jhobalia, VP, Marketing Strategy, House of Hiranandani, said the real estate sector has taken the bold move of increasing its ad spends in the past couple of months. The spends are already on a par with pre-Covid levels.
“We expect the share to increase in the festive season by 10-20%. Our ad spends have already reached pre-Covid levels for the quarter. With the inclusion of festive spends, our total ad spends will be 10-20% higher than the last year's festive spends,” he added.
The demand for residential real estate has always risen during the festive season. A home gains immense importance in Indian culture. As the festive season is an auspicious time, home-buyers prefer this time for investment. The sector witnesses a rise in business by approximately 30% every festive quarter.
After last year’s disruption by the Covid pandemic, normalisation is gaining momentum.
Jhobalia is highly optimistic of the sector’s performance during the festive season because there is a pent-up demand as buyers held on to their desire for a home during the lockdown.
As the restrictions have eased, buyers are willing to explore properties by visiting project sites. The pandemic has encouraged aspirants to buy a home rather than renting one. There has also been an increased preference for large homes due to work-from-home, online education and need for quarantine facilities.
He said the present government norms and policies create favourable conditions for a home-buyer to invest in a property. Interest rates are low, stamp duty has been reduced in a few states, real estate prices are stable, and developers are offering discounts and offers.
Yukti Nagpal, Director, Gulshan Group, said the last quarter has been quite optimistic for growth in the residential category. Commercial, on the other hand, is picking up slowly but the subdued interest has been renewed.
Real estate, she said, is on the path to recovery. Gulshan has surpassed pre-Covid ad spends by 35-40% and will continue this year. It is focusing on increasing site visits as it has witnessed increased traction on its digital walkthroughs and physical visits as well.
“We plan to increase spends in the upcoming quarter as it is the festive season. Last year, everyone was taken by surprise and so hardly any attention was paid to advertising in April-June quarter in 2020. We are utilising this year to compensate for the lost time and set a continuous brand recall among our target group,” she added.
In the 2020 festive season, especially during Gudi Padwa, Akshaya Tritiya, Navratri, and Ugadi, real estate sales soared up to 25%.
This year, Vikas Chaturvedi, CEO of Xanadu Realty, expects a further boost in bookings as developers are inclined to give attractive discounts to clear their unsold inventory.
He said there is already a significant upsurge in the adex and with the upcoming festive season, it will only swell.
“Though the ad spends are upward, we are taking into consideration the lurking threat of the third wave of the pandemic before crafting long-term plans. On the other hand, if all of us by being vigilant and following the safeguards can elude the third wave, then the adex across all categories will easily reach the pre-Covid levels,” he added.
Brands to go for a mix of digital, TV and print; OOH sees substantial increase
The pandemic has changed people’s preferences as well as choices of mediums for marketers.
Aggarwal said while print might witness a slowdown, TV and digital will go up. Signature Global will bet on digital majorly.
Same is the case with Gulshan Group. Print is expected to go slow as digital has become the most preferred medium.
Nagpal said, “We have toned down our print spends to an extent. Digital has opened multiple avenues of advertising, and we are moving forward with the strategy. Our plan of action comprises a mix of digital and print. OOH is also a part of our marketing mix, but its share has been kept limited compared to digital and print.”
With a revival of the economy and positive sentiment among buyers, developers will look to benefit from this situation. New launches are being planned along with festive offers and discounts.
Campaigns are expected in digital, print, radio and OOH mediums, Jhobalia said. Developers have also begun to use OTT in innovative ways to talk about their products and campaigns.
For House of Hiranandani, digital will be the key.
“We aim to have purpose-led, engaging and interactive communication with customers, including engaging films and on-ground events. Conventional mediums such as print and OOH will be used but their share may reduce,” he said.
Earlier, prospective homebuyers used to go for physical ‘house hopping’ but ever since the lockdown, virtual walkthroughs are being preferred. Keeping this in mind, real estate advertising and marketing companies have focused on digital marketing, online personalised ads, VR tours, and online documentation.
Xanadu is building a portfolio of branded properties for both premium luxury and mid-income, affordable segments and is leveraging technological advancements and the power of social media for the marketing and sale of properties.