India has one of the fastest-growing advertising industries, recording about 800 billion Indian rupees in revenues in 2019. A high share of television ownership across the country made it the leading source of revenues for ads, overtaking print in recent years. Television in India remains the booming source for ads among traditional media – thanks mostly to a sustained love for daily soaps, reality shows, movies, and cricket in particular.
Despite stiff competition from digitization, the print market ranked second in terms of revenues for advertising in the country – an unusual trend compared to most other countries. Even with one of the slowest growth rates, it was expected to retain an integral position for ads. This consistent development was probably due to low cover prices in the face of a struggling economy. This was probably also complemented by the continuing morning routine of reading newspapers along with the first cup of chai in many households.
Digital advertising in India has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Propelled by the Digital India initiative and the rapid adoption of smartphones with the availability of cheap data, mobile ads made up the largest share within this segment. Other catalysts included the decreasing urban-rural gap, enabling a more homogenous reach of all online content. Social media made up the highest share in terms of format for ads in this category, followed by paid search. With the highest levels of online video consumption among digital users in the country, the outlook for growth remained optimistic.
The fast-moving consumer goods market contributed the most in terms of ad spends in India. E-commerce recorded the highest growth rates compared to other categories. Cricket seasons, specifically the Indian Premier League, make for special competition between brands, putting forth their best and brightest scripts and copies. Celebrity endorsements play a major role in all formats, regardless of ad category or month of the year. Additionally, cultural festivals, especially centered around the Deepavali season lead to a surge in sales every year, ensuring a wave of new ads. It remains to be seen, however, if and how much the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will impact the market in the medium and long term, affecting businesses and the market overall.