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Publicis Groupe India launches report ‘Reboot To A New Normal’

By M4G Bureau - April 16, 2020

Indian consumers are single-mindedly focusing on essential products, Immunity-boosting products and turning towards online purchases are a few key findings of the report

Publicis Groupe India has released its latest report ‘Reboot To A New Normal –a detailed study on the consumption patterns, media usage, purchase behaviour and overall marketing & brand trends in India, in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. It examines impact on businesses, consumer sentiment and behaviour and the response of brands.

Anupriya Acharya, CEO, Publicis Groupe, South Asia says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that uncertainty has become the norm for brands and businesses across sectors and geographies. Publicis Groupe, through this report, offers some of our latest insights tracing the evident change in consumer behaviour, resilience, and solidarity among brands in these times, conceivable future implications and the reboot in brand response to that.  Most certainly, only the ones who imbibe this change, and more importantly, lead it, will emerge stronger. We look forward to and promise sharing the quest for the new normal, evolving businesses and robust communities.”

Anupriya Acharya, CEO, Publicis Groupe, South AsiaThe report marks profound shifts in the wake of the lockdown enforced by the Government of India. Many of these behavioural changes are not transient in nature; they are likely to stay long-term.  While the focus of the report remains on the Indian market, the study also draws on comparisons with other countries across US, Europe & APAC and predicts some of the outcomes ahead for brands.

Online is clearly the new norm as companies embrace remote work and rapidly digitise operations in order to ensure business continuity. However many still struggle to operationalise work from home initiatives because of cumbersome compliance and technical requirements.

Indian consumers today are single-mindedly focusing on essential products, sidestepping discretionary purchases such as apparel, electronics and watches.  Immunity-boosting products such as Honey and Chyawanptrash see huge surge in demand, alongside medicines, face masks and hand sanitizers.  As they brace for uncertain times ahead, consumers are panic-buying and tend to hoard supplies. Restaurants and food delivery apps have started offering contactless delivery. The demand however continues to be muted given hygiene-related concerns.

At the start of the outbreak, ecommerce witnessed huge momentum with people instinctively turning to online channels.  The convenience, promotions and value deals on online grocery platforms has in any case always been a huge draw and the crisis accelerated demand. During this period, online retail received a short-term boost in the fresh food, personal hygiene, and food delivery categories. However the shortage in stock and inability to deliver has led to frustration among consumers and has subsequently impacted sales volumes.

Brands are now agents of positive change and are instrumental in spreading social awareness and information around COVID-19. Examples are : Viacom ‘s #PauseForACause campaign focusing on care-givers,  Bajaj Alllianz’s #DooriHaiZaroori  campaign on social-distancing,  Jeep’s  Explore The Great Indoors campaign on staying safe and indoors, and  Zee’s  #BreakTheCoronaOutbreak campaign urging viewers to wash hands and maintain hygiene.

With content consumption set to rise, brands are creating content relevant to their consumer, in areas such as health, fitness, DIY, food, mental health  and entertainment. Brands can weather the current conditions by creating relevant content, developing an omni-channel strategy,  addressing consumer anxiety through positive messaging,  re-aligning brand and media strategy in line with consumer trends, using media in agile ways.


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