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A festive boost for the real estate & home improvement sector?

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With Diwali almost knocking on our doors, real estate and the mattress industry are looking forward to the festival season for a boost in sales as work from home becomes the norm

Diwali is around the corner and it’s that time of the year when property buying, home renovations and furbishing are on top of people’s minds. However, this year, the impact of Covid-19 still looms large over the festival of lights. While the pandemic has impacted the economy and consumer buying habits in the first and second quarter of the financial year, brands – including the real estate sector and the home refurbishing industry include mattresses – are optimistic that the festival fervour will give them a boost.

Abhishek Kapoor, COO-Residential, Puravankara Limited

Commenting on the evolving consumer sentiment on-ground, Abhishek Kapoor, COO-Residential, Puravankara Limited is optimistic about sales: “The ongoing pandemic has accentuated the importance of owning a home brining a larger sense of security during these uncertain times. Industry reports indicate a rise in demand for homes in the third quarter of FY21 and the momentum will continue through the next quarter. Our recent festive season campaigns received a great response from the customers. With buyer sentiment being on the rise, we are expecting traction in enquiries during this festive season and hoping that a large chunk of it will materialise in final sales.”

Prashin Jhobalia, VP Marketing Strategy, House of Hiranandani

The same outlook is shared by Prashin Jhobalia, VP Marketing Strategy, House of Hiranandani who adds “The quantum of sales is at least 30% higher during this season in comparison to non-festive times. Today, the consumer sentiment is positive as real estate investment now is easier and affordable than in the past. The number of enquiries has escalated as things are gradually returning to normalcy with newer consumer trends and demands. With consumers doing their research and understanding the property before visiting the site, the turnaround time between enquiries and conversions has also reduced. The attractive offers available during the festive season are encouraging them to close the deal quickly.”

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director and Co-founder, Wakefit.co

Along with real estate, industries like home refurbishing, decor and renovation are also observing similar consumer sentiment as Diwali provides consumers with an opportunity to upgrade their home requirements. The sentiment is backed by Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director and Co-founder of the sleep and home solutions company Wakefit.co, who says “With an uptick in e-commerce, this festive season promises to be conducive for D2C brands that offer significant value to customers in their evolving lifestyles. With ‘work from home’ becoming the norm, we have seen a substantial surge in demand for ergonomic furniture, and our home solutions range has been tailored to suit the needs of the customers.”

K Madhavan, Managing Director, Peps Industries

On his part K Madhavan, Managing Director, Peps Industries says, “The lockdown has provided an opportunity for people to assess their existing well-being and the hygiene factor tied to it. They understand the importance of better sleep which can be enhanced by a comfortable and hygienic mattress. Sleep is now an essential commodity and Indians are spending money to ensure quality sleep. We are keeping our customers engaged with the product and the brand for effective product disposal and thus garner maximum traction.”

Focus on Optimizing Spends 

In Q1, ad-spends across the board were curtailed and while brands have upped their investments in time for the festive season, the focus clearly is on the RoI. For Kapoor, the important question is not how much is spent but how the spends have been optimised as he says, “There is no alteration in terms quantum of our campaigns, which we run during the festive season. But if you look cost-wise, there is a difference.  Not because of any cuts; rather the cost per customer acquisition has decreased due to technology interventions. We leveraged digital channels and efficient utilisation of resources at our disposal.”

Jhobalia adds, “Our spends have remained the same as last year with 70% of media spends attributed to digital media and the rest to traditional media. We have witnessed a good response through this medium. There is no change in the spends for Q3.”

On his part, Madhavan says, “With apprehensions and uncertainties looming over us this year, we haven’t upped our media spends. In fact, there is a negligible difference in the media spend compared to last year. We have not spent anything substantial in the quarter led by a series of festivals and to our surprise, we have excelled in our performance.

In terms of their ad spends this festive season Ramalingegowda says “Festive spends have increased as demand for sleep and home solutions have grown rapidly. While we do not reveal festive spend numbers, we are expecting a major surge in our revenues which will enable us to reach our FY 2021 revenue targets of Rs 450 crores.”

The Digital Shift 

At Purvankara, Digital has emerged as the lead medium in place of Print. Kapoor explains “Traditionally, a large chunk of our communication cost spent used to go for print, followed by digital, radio and OOH; whereas our TV ad spends have always been very minimal. However in the current environment, the focus is more on digital mediums, followed by print and radio and currently, OOH has taken a backseat.” 

With home-buyers relying on digital mediums for their needs, Jhobalia says that real estate is no longer only focused on lead generation but is a combination of lead generation and brand–building supported by a robust strategy. He says, “Lead generation, alone cannot be sufficient to keep the audience hooked. There is a need for an appropriate digital strategy on brand building for optimal utilisation of all digital platforms including social media, native advertisements, SMS to connect with buyers and achieve conversions. Our media buying consists of well-strategized campaigns on platforms like Google, Facebook along with native ads and advertising on property portals. Our focused campaign approach complemented with the right set of targeting & custom ad placements help us get good results in terms of lead generation.  This strategy has been working well for us to help connect with the right audience and enhancing brand recall.”

Adding to the importance of digital marketing, Ramalingegowda adds “As a D2C brand, digital will always be our major focus in terms of marketing spends. Within digital, we will be looking at multiple mediums, including brand and performance marketing tactics. We have started exploring print advertisements to increase our reach among more people in India, but a majority of our festive spends will be allocated to digital promotions.”

While print has emerged as a preferred medium, PEPS Industries takes a contrarian view, as Madhavan says: “Considering we have a fairly strong digital presence, our consumers predominantly are targeted and communicated via these platforms. Not only is the cost involved for print media high, but we also found that it isn’t as efficient as the new media. Unlike last year, we did not venture into any TV or radio promotions this year.”

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Ritika Raj & Simran Sabherwal

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