Onam has arrived; though the sheen of the festival is robbed by the pandemic, brands have launched multiple attractive offers and discount sales to ensure consumer spending. From FMCG to consumer durables to jewellery brands to automobile brands-it has been raining offers to make sure nothing stops Malayalis to loosen the purse strings.
The festive season used to be where the brands witnessed around 30-50 per cent sales growth. Consumer Durable, Home Appliances, Retail outlets, Jewellers takes the lion’s share of the ad volume during Onam. Although the pandemic spread and frequent lockdowns have choked the economy, the brand custodians are optimistic about the festive season.
“Consumer sentiment and demand this Onam looks to be up. While the number of Covid cases is still high, the markets have opened, and people are not as tentative stepping out as they were last year. From the conversations we have had, we estimate that overall sales will be up 20-25% compared to 2020,” said Radhika Ramani, Managing Partner -South, Motivator India.
“There is no drastic change that we see in the media mix compared to the other years, with print still taking a large share of ad spends. The auto, jewellery and retail sectors have been very active so far. National players, particularly white goods, have also just started to advertise and are expected to continue till the end of the month,” Radhika added.
The jewellery industry expects 30-40 per cent revenue growth during Onam, which is followed by the wedding season. The restrictions on the number of participants for Kerala weddings and the economic crisis have also affected Kerala’s Jewellery sales. Despite the uncertainty, jewellery brands are hopeful about sales growth during Onam.
Despite the threat of Covid infections, Kerala has resumed its economic activities with the utmost care, observe Ahammed MP, Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds.
“As you know, Onam is the national festival of Malayalees. Wherever they are, Malayalees all around the world celebrate Onam, even if they face financial problems. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. People have been facing tremendous problems as the economy is in the doldrums because of lockdowns and other restrictions. However, all of us are happy that the situation is improving fast. Most of the States have lifted lockdowns, and life is back to normal,” he added.
Ahammed believes that sales would increase marginally as it is the beginning of the wedding season. “Sales during festival and wedding season account for around 40 per cent of the annual sales,” Ahammed added.
According to Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director Kalyan Jewellers, they have witnessed encouraging recovery trends in customer footfalls in our showrooms that have reopened after the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our revenues in June 2021 were significantly higher than that of the previous year (2020), adjusted for store working days. We are witnessing an uptick in customer footfall across our showrooms in Kerala as lockdown restrictions have eased. We expect a good recovery this Onam, backed by overall consumer sentiments, upcoming wedding season, falling gold prices, and the ongoing shift in consumer preference from the unorganized sector to organized jewellery brands like Kalyan Jewellers. The implementation of mandatory hallmarking by the Government of India is expected to accelerate this trend further,” Ramesh said.
“The consumer demand during the festive season has been positive. We are also offering up to 74 per cent payment of making charges on jewellery and diamond value for festivities like Varalakshmi Puja, Independence Day celebrations. With gold prices falling, people are planning their possible future purchases for occasions like weddings. The overall Festive sales this year is around 60 per cent of buying. The AkshayTritya sales this hasn’t been encouraging, but we are looking forward to upcoming festivals for some recovery in sales,” Suvankar Sen, CEO, Senco Gold and Diamonds.
Shyamala Ramanan, Business Head, Mia by Tanishq, is also very optimistic about Onam and the festive season to follow. “Weare witnessing good traction in sales. Though we have continuous sales throughout the year, Q3 registers the highest sales for the brand,” Shyamala added.
Talking about the ad spends during the festive season, Shyamala said, “Mia by Tanishq is a digital-first company, and we are reaching out to the consumers through extensive digital media campaigns. We up our ad spends by 1.4X during the festive season.”
Speaking about the strategies for reaching out to the consumers, Ahammed said, “Our focus is on Fair Price. Malabar Gold and Diamonds has recently launched the ‘One India, One Gold Rate’ offers gold ornaments at a uniform price across the country. Secondly, we have introduced Fair Making Charge on all our products, which will also benefit the customers. Besides the Fair Price and Fair Making Charge, we have also announced an advance purchase scheme in view of the wedding season. Customers can book the jewellery with a payment of 10 per cent of the total purchase amount and enjoy protection from possible price hikes. We know that Malayalees consider Onam most suitable for presenting gifts to their dear and near ones. I think it is the best time for gifting gold ornaments as the price are comparatively low now”.