Despite a slump in consumer spending and slowdown, festive advertising is expected to grow at 10-12% over 2018 to touch as much as 20,000 crore this year, according to an estimate by media buyers. The marketing push is expected to revive consumer sentiment and promote sales between September and October during which key festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Dussehra, and Diwali will be celebrated.

The spends include marketing and advertising promotions on festive offers and discounts across television, print, outdoor, radio, and digital media platforms.

“The festival season is a very critical period for most advertisers for all categories in the country. Brands will not take the risk of cutting their media budgets. Therefore they are expected to spend heavy media money to woo consumers,” said Navin Khemka, chief executive, MediaCom, South Asia.

The first half of this year was event heavy in terms of advertising with properties such as the Indian Premier League(IPL), World Cup, and the general elections, but the festive season is expected to contribute more than 25% of overall advertising media spends which are expected to touch 69,000 crore in 2019.

Advertising growth will be driven by both new-age digital companies such as Amazon and Flipkart, as well as traditional advertisers such as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, automobile firms, jewellery manufacturers, and retailers. Consumer durables and smartphone makers, who have been investing in advertising through the year, are also expected to splurge on promoting festive sales. Traditionally, most companies stash away a chunk of their media budgets for the festive season, which contributes more than 40% of their annual sales.

“Over the years, Mondelez India has been an intrinsic part of festivals. Our gifting portfolio both in retail and on e-commerce, including our direct to consumer website brings alive the festive spirit by getting people together, especially during key Indian festivals like Diwali. While Cadbury Celebrations has become India’s favourite gifting brand, consumers now have one more choice, with our recently launched Cadbury Oreo Moments gift boxes. Our festive campaigns bring alive the acts of generosity that make our festivals full of warmth and renewed good feelings in line with Cadbury Dairy Milk’s Generosity narrative,” said a Mondelez India spokesperson.

However, not all media buyers are convinced about any significant jump in advertising. “Usually festive advertising begins in August but the slowdown has pushed it to September when we will see brands rolling out their festive advertising campaigns. Due to slowdown in the automobile, consumer durables and FMCG sector the growth of festive advertising will not be high this year,” said Harsha Joshi, an independent media consultant.

The overall growth in the FMCG sector has slumped in the past few quarters with market researcher Nielsen lowering its 2019 growth forecast for the sector from its previous outlook of 11-12% to 9-10%. Meanwhile, India recorded its worst passenger car sales in 19 years in July. However, media buyers feel that despite the slowdown key advertisers will spend media money to revive consumer sentiment during the festive season to boost sales.

E-commerce giants and traditional advertisers are expected to take over television, print, and outdoor, while digital media platforms will also play a key role in pushing deals and discounts. It is expected to draw between 5-7% of overall festive advertising spends.

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