Akshit Pushkarna

Criteo’s Taranjeet Singh on a year of dynamic shifts in digital advertising

The managing director, enterprise- APAC, provides an overview of the trends for the festive season of 2023. 

As cookies become obsolete and global privacy concerns take precedence, the digital advertising landscape in 2023 is undergoing substantial transformations. In response to these dynamic shifts, notable changes have occurred in the approaches companies take toward digital advertising. Against this backdrop, the Indian festive season, a period during which brands traditionally allocate a significant portion of their marketing investments, also experienced major shifts.

Providing insights into this scenario, Taranjeet Singh, managing director, enterprise-APAC at Criteo, a digital advertising platform specialising in targeted and personalised advertising, sheds light on the trends observed during the 2023 festive season.

In an interview with afaqs!, Singh shared the findings of Criteo's Diwali 2023 analysis. The results highlighted a substantial impact during the crucial sales offers from October 8th to 15th, contributing to a notable 26% increase in sales and an 8% rise in website traffic. As a result, Diwali served as a catalyst for online sales, witnessing a robust 72% uplift on November 10th, just two days before the festival.

The study also highlighted that the two-week period leading up to Diwali (October 29th – November 11th) showcased a 49% average increase in sales. “Consumers exhibited a trend of early research and shopping gearing toward the holiday season with product exploration 18.3 days before making a purchase during the peak period.

Further, Singh also reveals that during July to September 2023, 74% of holiday shoppers had already contemplated their gift selections and over 50% had already made some holiday purchases.

Shoppers also expressed their intent to spend more, and shop both in physical stores and online, with more than one third indicating they will spend "much more" than the previous year. 

"With these trends, I suppose the brands that started planning early and launched the campaigns early successfully seized the opportunity presented by the surge in shoppers researching from July and their planned expenditures, securing a competitive edge and capturing the attention of early shoppers. The dynamic shift in consumer behaviour and preferences during the holiday shopping season, as highlighted by the data, also underscore the importance of synergy in online platforms and physical stores in shaping the Diwali shopping experience," he says.

Singh says that Criteo’s research also revealed that 33% initiated their gift search through online ads, and 31% through brand websites or apps, followed closely by physical stores (28%), showcasing the importance of both online and physical stores.

Additionally, 41% of in-store shoppers answered that they shop in a store for last-minutes purchases and 27% answered they do so for leveraging the loyalty memberships. 30% also answered that they prefer to purchase gifts online and pick them up in a store. "To capitalise on the opportunity, businesses should implement a commerce media strategy with a full-funnel and omnichannel approach to achieve seamless shopping experiences," Singh advises.

Moreover, brands have also undertaken a reinvograted focus on non-traditional festive events during this year's festive season. In a bid to extend the festive moods, brands also released several promotional activities centred around the American Black Friday. However, many were questioning the success rate of the idea. 

Singh says that it has, in fact, emerged as a major event for brand marketers.

"Black Friday also has emerged as a crucial event for attracting new buyers in India, as a staggering 9 out of 10 consumers express a readiness to explore purchases from online stores that are not on their regular radar. 73% of Indian shoppers answered that they typically shop online around Black Friday and 92% answered they sometimes purchase from online stores that they usually don’t purchase from on Black Friday. Remarkably, more than half of consumers are enticed towards new online stores primarily by great deals, and 16% also showed interest in post-Black Friday deals, saying it would also draw them to try a new store," he says. 

The key elements for ensuring the retention of new customers acquired during Black Friday include great deals (47%), free shipping (47%) and fast shipping (46%). These findings showcase the significance of well-thought-out promotions and streamlined shipping processes in capturing and preserving consumer interest throughout and after the holiday shopping period. 

Singh says that consumers are increasingly recognising the utility of AI in their shopping experience, with 99% of respondents finding AI useful in various shopping situations. "Among the top use cases shared by Indian shoppers are identifying the best price for a product (44%), discovering gift ideas (43%), and seeking information about products they've found (39%). This data underscores the role AI plays in shaping the future of retail, emphasising the need for businesses to leverage AI technologies for a seamless and personalised shopping journey." 

Another interesting development throughout the year has been the increasing prominence of the use of artificial intelligence in the marketing realm. However, consumers who interact with such marketing drives are not ignorant towards it.

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