New Delhi: E -commerce companies are sparing no effort—and expense—to woo consumers to loosen their purse strings during the upcoming festival season. The biggest online retailers in India are expected to collectively spend an estimated 400 crore on advertising to promote Diwali sales, a 10% increase from that of last year, according to top media buyers.

The festive season sale will mark the biggest showdown in Indian e-commerce, with arch rivals Flipkart and Amazon launching big discounts, deals as well as advertising campaigns to promote their offers heavily across media platforms. Flipkart’s flagship Big Billion Days sale will start on 10 October. Amazon India’s Great Indian Festival is also expected to start in the same month.

This year, Flipkart is targeting sales of $1.5-1.7 billion from the Big Billion Day sale, nearly double of what it did last year, Mint reported last month, citing three people aware of the company’s plans. That target also takes into account sales from fashion retailers Myntra and Jabong, both owned by Flipkart.

A host of other companies including online grocer Grofers, online furniture retailer Pepperfry as well as Paytm Mall, the e-commerce arm of the payments company, will also spend advertising money to attract buyers during the festival season.

“I believe e-commerce platforms will spend heavily on advertising this festival season, with television and print dominating the ad spends. Full-page print ads and jackets from October onwards will promote upcoming deals and discounts," said independent media-buying consultant Harsha Joshi.

Amazon’s mass media campaign for the festival season is inspired by the insight that during Diwali, families make big-ticket purchases, but limited budgets often push them to prioritize the things they buy.

“Our campaign ‘India ki khushiyon ke beech, budget nahi aayega’ (loosely translated as “budget will not be a hindrance to happiness") will highlight that Amazon is offering various deals, exchange offers and EMI options, so that every Indian family can afford the Diwali gifts they deserve," said Ravi Desai, director, mass and brand marketing, Amazon India.

Flipkart has started promoting the campaign “Big Billion Days are back" across digital platforms, with a mass media campaign expected to be launched soon.

Flipkart’s catchphrase for the Big Billion Days sale this year is “Ab India hoga budget se mukt (Now India will be free from budget constraints)". To enable this, the company is offering consumers financing options under what it terms Flipkart Cardless Credit. Flipkart Cardless Credit gives customers a credit line of as much as 60,000, which can be repaid in instalments. The company said it plans to offer discounts of as much as 80% on televisions and appliances, electronic devices and accessories, and up to 90% off on categories such as fashion, home décor and personal care.

Paytm Mall’s festival advertising is slated to start from October, promoting the sale which will continue till the end of the year. “This year we will be increasing our focus on affordability services for categories like mobiles, consumer electronics and large appliances," a Paytm Mall spokesperson said. “Around 20-25% of consumers currently opt for affordability services, as they are making a purchase on our platform. Our goal is to expand the reach of these cost-effective services by driving adoption among a wider consumer base."

While most e-commerce companies start the media blitz around October, Pepperfry has started running a pre-festive season campaign titled Why wait for Diwali across television, cinema, radio, outdoor, and digital media platforms.

“We felt that the August-September period was a great time to educate the customers that there are great deals on Pepperfry through the year and that they can avail these offers even now," said Kashyap Vadapalli, chief marketing officer, Pepperfry. With a focus on variety, new designs and discounts in its mass media campaign, Pepperfry is also betting big on online video content, partnering with content houses such as The Viral Fever, Miss Malini and Dice Media to create web series around Diwali.

“Video will continue to dominate and hence biggies such as Facebook and YouTube will continue to be critical. I foresee a lot of investments in Instagram this festive season with its scale and new ad formats. Most e-commerce firms are betting big on smaller towns to have a successful festive season and digital platforms will play a crucial role in discovery, engagement and fulfilment," said Kishan Kumar, managing partner at media agency Wavemaker.

Deepti Govind in Bengaluru contributed to this story.

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