Indian advertising gains from ecommerce

30 September 2014

NEW DELHI: India's most important shopping season will see the country's top ecommerce sites take their checkout battles into the advertising arena with a major outlay on TV and print in the weeks leading up to Diwali.

Media planners are expecting Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon to spend in the region of Rs 200 crore ($32.4m) between now and late October, covering a period that accounts for around 40% of the annual sales of many brands, according to the Economic Times.

And industry observers are anticipating a potentially significant retail shift. "This season we could see consumers moving in a big way from offline to digital shopping," said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail advisory firm Technopak.

While most of the expenditure is slated to take place in traditional media, higher ad rates during the holiday peak will push some spending into digital channels. "Closer to Diwali, you will see some of these sites taking over the entire ad space of top online publishers for at least two to three days," said Saurabh Srivastava, director at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers India.

The retailers themselves are taking different slants on what will be a busy season. "We wanted to break the clutter that surrounds festive ads," said Sandeep Komaravelly, svp/ marketing at Snapdeal.

To that end the retailer has recruited a total of 28 celebrities and created 50 advertisement films, to be aired across 85 national and regional channels, booking as many as 2,000 ad spots a day.

Rival Flipkart is focusing its marketing in a one-week campaign counting down to a sale day on October 6th, which it is calling the Big Billion Day, revealing more details as the event approaches. The company is reported to have blocked over 1,000 ad spots a day on television for October.

While details of Amazon's plans were unavailable, country head Amit Agarwal promised: "We will be very visible and very aggressive with our marketing campaign across all media."

Visiting India, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos dismissed the notion that the ecommerce industry there was facing a winner-takes-all outcome. There was room for multiple winners, he said, and a lot of opportunity to invest – Amazon had just announced it was putting $2bn into spending on infrastructure, transportation, fulfilment centres, mobile, customer acquisition and product categories.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Livemint; additional content by Warc staff