It is that time of the year when any brand or retailer will up its ante to grab the maximum share of profits from the market and hope for making the best of this annual buying spree. The spirit of festivities is such in India that it overpowers all the disappointment in business, low economy and everything else accumulated throughout the year. And it works the same way for both retailer as well as consumer. Brands, whether dealing in consumer durable goods, jewellery, fashion, confectionary, etc. prepare for months to make the most of this period and try to capitalize on this cash rich market. This is the prime time when retailers can sell at the optimum level and make up for the rest of the year.
Talking about consumer durable makers, this segment expect to clock up to 40 percent sales growth this festive season by offering freebies and discounts to woo consumers. Industry body Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) said most of the factors point to favourable sales in the festive season.
Grab The Perfect Opportunity
No matter how many attractive discounts and offers you line up through the year, there is no match to the response that festive offers around this time of the year can generate. KG George, Senior VP – Retail, TTK Prestige, agrees saying that the brand prepares for the period very aggressively and “offers a host of promotions with its mega advertising budget reserved for the season”. It is a win-win situation for both consumers as well as retailers, especially in the consumer durable segment as the brands prefer to give maximum offers during the festive season for the consumers. A.D.A. Ratnam, President - Personal Health, Philips India, says, “For Philips, festive season is the way the community celebrates with people because the festive season means lots of eating, lots of dressing and lots of gifting. We have three sectors – health and wellness, personal care and domestic appliances. Domestic appliances take a bigger part during this period which starts from Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra to Diwali. I am not saying that the other two sectors does not play a role but domestic appliances has an upper hand during this time because people prefer gifting, buying and refurbishing homes. Festive time is very big for Philips because it gives us an opportunity to communicate with our customers. Every company offers products but we distinguish ourselves with offering them with experiences.”
Philips is not the only one betting on offering experience to the consumers rather than discounting. Arvind Chhabra, Country Head, Blueair, asserts, “We have tied up with HiCare and Croma in prominent markets and these stores will be more of an experience zone for the customers. There won’t be much of discounting as the category is in a growing phase and we have the seasonal support as the demand for air purifier further increases during the festive season and the during the winter season as well. Also, with growing awareness, people are adopting this technology fast and are realizing that it is no more a luxury but a need based thing.”
Marketing & Promotions
The companies are also loosening their purse strings for branding and marketing campaigns. Philips India maintained that the brand has put in lots of in-store promoters, lots of activations all around the mall and shopping complexes. “We are also communicating our advertisements in some of the leading cinema chains and also through televisions, digital media and activations by meeting people where we tell them than using is believing rather than just seeing. Our brand ambassadors including Alia Bhatt, Arjun Kapoor are also helping us out in promotional and marketing strategies. So, it’s a 360 degree marketing strategy in action. We are doing everything in order to capture the imagination of the consumer,” affirms Ratnam from Philips India while also maintaining that the brand remains very careful in offering the discounts because it ultimately dilutes the brand. He says, “Offering discounts is very easy, so as to have more sales. But discounts dilute the brand and also the ability of the brand to re-invest in your business and bring some value innovation.”
While Philips is going all out for promoting and marketing its products, Blueair’s Arvind Chhabra informs, “We are coming up with a big campaign “Take Control of Your Indoor Air” and we are going to focus on making people aware that in such levels of pollution, one can very easily take control of what they are breathing inside their homes. At this stage, the awareness in terms of technology and in terms of the need is deficit, and so we are working on making our consumers aware of the same. We will communicate with our target consumers through print and digital advertisements.”
Another area which requires attention in order to grab more footfall at the retail stores during festivals, is the ambience or store decoration, which is created to match the product mix and give the shoppers full experience.
Furthermore, rise in income levels, growing consumer aspirations and easy availability of credit has triggered strong growth in the sales of high-value consumer durables such as panel TVs, split air-conditioners, frost-free refrigerators and fully automatic washing machines in recent years. Of the innumerable options available for financing, interest- free schemes are the most popular. Financing schemes enable customers, especially those with lower income levels, to use future income streams to buy consumer products upfront and pay in installments over a period. Consumer durables finance schemes are generally available at the dealer location or the showroom. The beneficiaries are not just customers, but lenders, manufacturers and retailers too benefit.
While Philips does not feel an innate requirement for financing options at its store citing the price range of its products which mostly goes upto only Rs. 20,000- Rs. 25,000, KG George from TTK Prestige, asserts, “We accept Bajaj EMI Cards in our exclusive outlets. Besides we also have multiple partners for credit card EMIs. The whole intention is to increase consumption and the ticket size.” Similarly, Arvind Chhabra says, “There will be lot of financing options available at most of our outlets. Schemes like no interest EMIs by Bajaj Finance and HDFC paper finance, etc. will attract more consumers. Apart from this, we have tied up with majority of the credit cards (more than 10) where user can pay the money in 12 installments without bearing any interest whatsoever. These will bring in lot of ease for consumers to make buying decision faster.”
For any brand or retailer to remain relevant for its customers, it is of utmost importance that it keeps the dice turning. While Philips is advocating healthy eating, grooming oneself by their own, and innovative products, all backed by “a superb customer care support”, Blueair worked mostly on spreading awareness about the technology and creating experience centres for its customers.
In terms of new product launches, TTK Prestige is all set to launch a number of new products in order to sweep the market during the festive season. Ratnam from Philips India says, “We have launched a lot of products in the last few weeks and have also brought in innovations in our products. Apart from some new forms of air purifiers, Philips is also working on small kitchen appliances which will be easy to use, clean, etc.” On the other hand, Arvind Chhabra maintains, “We have a very wide range of air purifiers and the brand is not announcing any launch during this season.”
Festive Season not only propels brands to expand their product lines and add new ones but also encourages giving something ‘extra’ to its customers. The prospect of giveaways acts as a tremendous incentive. So much so, the average Indian shopper often tends to wait until festivals to make the big spend. The season does not end with Diwali but goes on to Christmas and the wedding season, and so, the shopping spree and the process of expanding product portfolio by the brands and retailers, continues.
In the times to come, Philips is planning on expanding its portfolio in men’s as well as women’s grooming. On the other hand, Blueair is working on its strategy to open more points of sale. “We will be building a very strong institutional sales team as well in order to engage with large corporates, hospitals, schools and help them choose the right solution for their kind of field and we will be building more and more towards that domain also apart from the ongoing online retail expansion,” maintains Arvind Chhabra from Blueair.