Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon may spend up to Rs 200 crore this festive season
BANGALORE: If Amazon chief Jeff Bezos had wanted a ringside view of the intense marketing battles taking place in India’s ecommerce terrain, he couldn’t have chosen a better time to visit the country.
Bezos has landed in India bang in the middle of an advertising blitz unleashed by his company’s top competitors in India Snapdeal and Flipkart for the festive season.
The shopping season from the end of September till Diwali in late October is the top sales period in India, accounting for about 40% of the total for most brands. No wonder then that Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon are going out all guns blazing.
The top three companies, according to multiple media planners, are expected to spend up to Rs 200 crore this season.
Snapdeal, for instance, wanted to differentiate itself from the pack not just in terms of deals and offers but also in the advertising campaign. It has got on board 28 celebrities, primarily television stars like Mandira Bedi and Harsha Bhogle.
The company has created 50 advertisement films, which will be aired across 85 national and regional channels until Diwali. The Delhi-based firm has blocked up to 2,000 ad spots a day across these television channels. It spent over Rs 20 crore, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal, to become the presenting partner of the hit reality show Big Boss.
“The month leading up to Diwali is going to be the biggest month in terms of sales and we want a bulk of it to happen on Snapdeal,” said Sandeep Komaravelly, senior vice-president of marketing at Snapdeal. He declined to comment on the exact amount being spent on marketing. “We wanted to break the clutter that surrounds festive ads.”
Most of the action will take place on television and print.”The intent is to get as many consumers to shop online as possible,” said Saurabh Srivastava, director at advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers India. The television ad inventory is expensive during the festive season with rates about 15% higher. “But 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.” Market leader Flipkart’s first festive campaign is focused on its single-biggest sale day. The Big Billion Day, as the sale is called, will be unveiled on October 6 at 6.10 am.
“Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (the cofounders) decided on the day as 6-10 was the house number of the apartment where they launched Flipkart seven years ago,” said a person with direct knowledge of the decision.
“It will be a concentrated oneweek campaign, where as the big day approaches more details will be revealed,” said Mukesh Bansal, head of fashion and board member at Flipkart. However, the festive ads will continue beyond October 6. “The whole of October is very important.”
He too declined to speak on the marketing budget and the ad inventory. But according to a person involved in the campaign plan, the company has blocked over 1,000 ad spots a day on television for October.
Industry experts said it is not surprising that ecommerce companies are going all out in their marketing. “This season we could see consumers moving in a big way from offline to digital shopping,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail advisory Technopak.
Amazon is not lagging behind. “We will be very visible and very aggressive with our marketing campaign across all media,” said Amit Agarwal, Amazon’s India country head. As per estimates by research firm Counterpoint Research, ecommerce currently accounts for 10% of smartphone sales in India. This could go up to 15% this Diwali.