The ten-day harvest festival of Onam comes right at the beginning of the festival season in India. This year, Onam celebrations are returning at full pace after the two pandemic-hit years and Kerala’s devastating floods earlier. Consumers are now ready to spend their pockets as the celebrations pick up in the state and other parts of South India.
According to industry observers, the consumer sentiment this year is extremely positive and brands are ready to spend on marketing to make the most of this festival.
Brands are trying to grab the attention of consumers with various campaigns around Onam. Brands like OYO, Vinod Cookware and Kalyan Jewellers each have come up with interesting festive offers and ad films.
Varghese Chandy, Vice President, Marketing & Advertising-Sales, at Malayala Manorama, believes advertising spending during Onam this year has been good. Festive spends have moved towards pre-pandemic levels, and this trend will continue for the rest of the year, he said.
“This Onam, people have been able to move, interact and go about their lives just as during the pre-pandemic time adhering to a few covid protocols. This I feel has been the biggest growth driver. Retail has been a big advertising spender this year. The fact that retailers have continued to take the jacket and full-page ads with us this season is a testament to the effectiveness of print in Kerala to generate a response. Within retail, the biggest sub-categories have been consumer durables, textiles and jewellery. Apart from retail, the auto category has been active as well along with entertainment, government advertising, finance and education,” Varghese added.
According to Mac Machaiah, Chief Client Officer & Office Head – South, Wavemaker India, "Consumers are playing it safe. Liquidity seems to be a problem due to high inflation, added to that the torrential rains in the last two weeks is dampening the overall festivity. Retailers are upbeat this year and their advertising investments have gone up (compared to last 2 years) and national advertisers have also upped their spend to threshold levels."
Speaking about industries that will be doing well around Onam, and how consumers across South India are ready to celebrate the festival regardless of which culture they belong to, digital marketing company Origami Creative’s Co-founder & Director Laqeeq Ali says, “Fashion for sure I think will do well and food and beverage too. People have started going out and celebrating and not just there (Kerala), even in the Bangalore market. The number of restaurants doing Onam Sadya itself is a lot. So, celebrations are going beyond the Kerala population or the Malayali. Everybody else wants to also go and celebrate. So, the mindset is also changing, every moment, every excuse, which I get to celebrate, I want to celebrate because it's me and my family getting a chance to go out and try something new.”
Sharing a similar sentiment was the Executive Director, Channel Business of Asianet Channels, Kishan Kumar M S. “This year, Onam comes with a lot of anticipation from marketers and media owners as the last few seasons had been lukewarm, to say the least. The good news is that consumer sentiment is looking positive despite rains and inflation-related challenges. Local retail is back, and so are lifestyle brands and outlets. Auto & consumer durables have exciting offers lined up for consumers. Travel-related categories are active; so are many categories within FMCG like F&B and personal care. At Asianet, we have created a large variety of entertainment content for our viewers to celebrate Onam, which also helps our advertisers to engage with consumers. This includes some of the biggest blockbusters of 2022, events and chat shows, comedy shows and special Onam episodes of our blockbuster fiction shows. We expect this Onam to be good for both viewers and advertisers.”
Online shopping giant Myntra is also positive about the festive season and has curated a special Onam store for consumers to browse through. Sharon Pais, Chief Business Officer of Myntra spoke about the consumer sentiment around the festival. “At Myntra, we have curated a dedicated store called ‘The Onam Store’ which is the one-stop destination for all things festive shopping this Onam. With the much-awaited harvest festival around the corner, we have bolstered our selection of festive regional handlooms such as Kasavu Sarees, Half Sarees, Silk Sarees, Mundu Sets, Pattu Pavadai, Temple Jewelry and more. Our Onam campaign is hinged on showcasing leading regional brands to build relatability from Ramraj, Pothys, Thangamagam, Nalli’s, among others. In the lead-up to the festival of Onam, we are witnessing a significant spike over BAU in the Kerala region. We are seeing high intent in Men's Occasion Wear and Jewellery, resulting in a sizable spike over last year.”
Varghese from Malayala Manorama believes consumers are ready to get back to pre-pandemic celebrations. “Consumer sentiment is definitely positive. People are eager to move about and experience those things and activities which they haven’t been able to do in the past 2 years. In this process, consumer spending has had a large increase over the previous years. Inflation is on all fronts, including newspaper production costs. However, the multiple years of pandemic and floods have affected the per sq.cm yield of all newspapers. So, advertisers are having terrific returns on their media investments.”