Small vendors set for boost as poll fever sweeps India
Uptick in demand
Biscuits, snacks, beverages and telecom companies expect a spike in sales during the forthcoming general election bolstered by large gatherings and rallies that will target about 900 million Indians in the world’s largest democracy.
With the fast-moving consumer goods market growing in double digits, companies expect a significantly higher uptick in demand, at least in these categories, compared with 2014.
Voting will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19 with counting on May 23.
Some 8,000 contestants are expected to contest 543 seats. "This is definitely an additional opportunity for out-of-home consumption," said B Krishna Rao, senior category head at Parle Products, the country’s largest biscuit company by volume.
(In pic - A sari with picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is displayed at a textile shop in Mumbai)
Leverage poll fever
From increasing inventory and delivering at odd hours to offering discounts and launching campaigns urging people to vote, companies will be doing their bit to leverage poll fever.
In the last general election in 2014, the overall consumer goods volume shrank 2% in the April-June quarter, the worst in a decade, amid high inflation and an economy that slumped to below 5% growth two years in a row.
Telcos expect a sharp jump in voice and data consumption along with a 5% rise in mobile connection sales, which is likely to drive average revenue per user growth for the big three — Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Reliance Jio in the April-June quarter.
Uptick on social media
Analysts expect the increase in mobile data consumption to be in line with TV viewership in terms of screen time during the elections.
That’s because people will be following poll trends not just on television but on 4G smartphones and also be active on social media, discussing these on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
With liquidity tightening in the wake of the IL&FS default and rise in interest costs hitting passenger vehicle sales for the seventh month this financial year in February, companies now expect the local automotive market to pick up only after the election.