Aishwarya Ramesh

Despite OTT, 43% spike in cable TV viewers during lockdown: Enormous Brands report

To understand Indian consumers better, Enormous Brands surveyed their changing sentiments and attitudes across top six cities.

The stay-at-home mandate has changed the behaviour and attitudes of many Indians. Those who used to once ask for free ‘dhaniya’ or ‘mirchi’ from vegetable vendors, are now buying things, without even asking for their prices. The stay-at-home order has, thus, caused visible major shifts in people’s behaviour. Ajay Verma, managing partner, Enormous Brands, calls the global situation ‘unprecedented’, and an opportunity to understand changing consumer mindsets. “Experiences that we obtain either through empirical evidence or personal experience or research data – are the bedrock of creating communication. In this particular scenario, within the country, there’s no concrete set of data that exists. So, we thought this would be a good opportunity to understand what’s actually going on in the minds of the consumers and create more appropriate advertising for our potential clients,” he says.

Verma emphasises that advertisers have to be careful while creating communication that speaks to people who are coming out of a lockdown, since their mindset and attitude might be different. He adds that having access to what kind of mindset shift is happening can help devise better communication that will speak to the audience.

“It is basically stuff that helps us understand our consumers better. We’re not trying to mould people’s habits, attitudes or behaviours. We’re trying to study and understand them. For example, one of the interesting things we noticed is that the shift in marketing monies is going towards digital now,” adds Verma.

He explains that the sample size of the study was close to 3,000-plus members across major cities in India. We’re studying their attitudes towards communication from the BFSI sector, FMCG sector, etc. Verma adds that so far, there’s this hypothesis that once the lockdown is over, people will resume consuming products in the way that they used to. But, he emphasises that it’s more important to really understand what is going on, what attitude shifts are happening and what the consumers have been thinking of, in the last one month – which will mould their behaviour after the lockdown lifted.

“This also forces us to create advertising keeping in mind this new understanding of consumers. We’ve produced ad films for Dish TV, Apollo 24x7 and a few other clients. Despite the popularity of OTT platforms, we’re seeing family entertainment make a comeback. Television used to be the ‘fireplace’ – where everyone would gather around, and sit down to watch something. We’re seeing that emotion make a comeback, too, in this lockdown – watching news, ‘Ramayan’, etc.,” Verma says.

This research is mainly targeted at the consuming class. It’s a digital and internet-based study. The excerpts shown below are from a proprietary online study done by Enormous Brands. It was a quantitative web-based study administered between March 30 and April 22, 2020. The total sample size was 3,737 and the dispersion was as follows:

Mumbai: 837, Delhi (including NCR): 782, Bengaluru: 774, Chennai: 519, Pune: 428 and Ahmedabad: 397. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents had an annual income of Rs 5 lakh-plus, and one-fourth of the sample had an income level of Rs 20 lakh-plus. Sixty-eight per cent of the sample were graduates.

Television grows strength to strength during lock-down

The study suggests TV still shines over OTT. Forty-three per cent see cable TV as primary entertainment in high-income households, and 13 per cent have reactivated their DTH/cable subscription.

Interestingly, ‘news’ has emerged as the new GEC. A staggering 64 per cent of TV viewing time across the TV viewing population is spent on news channels. Forty-three per cent believe that news reporting is unbiased and 27 per cent believe there is a clear indication that few news channels are pro a particular political party.

Despite OTT, 43% spike in cable TV viewers during lockdown: Enormous Brands report

Newspaper poised for a strong return

International research suggests that 21 days can break or form a habit. However, this study suggests otherwise, when it comes to a daily newspaper. Seventy-four per cent miss their daily newspaper and are waiting for the service to resume.

While 29 per cent have moved to reading newspapers online, only four per cent would unsubscribe from hard copy. It looks like the newspaper is a habit, like coffee, that has grown on the Indian palette, making it difficult to part with.

India’s elderly go digital

The study shows a sharp increase, as much as 47 per cent adoption among elders (55-65 years) of e-commerce – ordering milk, grocery and home essentials and paying through wallets/UPI.

The banks have been promoting Internet banking for over a decade. In just the last month, the data suggests, first time users have increased by 28 per cent. The maximum shift of 33 per cent is among the age group of 35-50 years – this is the ‘bankers’ delight segment as it is the most profitable customer band.

COVID-19 helps push the ‘Make in India’ agenda

Forty-two per cent believe that there is an active and deliberate attempt by China to spread COVID-19 across the world for economic gains. This has led to a strong anti-China sentiment. The data suggests that 47 per cent of Indians are willing to pay up to 25 per cent higher for Indian made goods over Chinese ones. There is a strong sentiment that the world should unite against China, and not look at it as the world’s manufacturer, even if it is cost-inefficient.

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