Lit Fest: A look at Diwali shopping trends : The Tribune India

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Lit Fest: A look at Diwali shopping trends

After a two-year pandemic lull, Diwali is back with a bang, and markets are brimming with gifting and buying options

Lit Fest: A look at Diwali shopping trends

Photos: Himanshu Mahajan, Ravi Kumar, PTI & istock



Seema Sachdeva

Married last winter, Nikhar and Simran Midha have been eagerly awaiting their first Diwali together, which, thankfully, is not marred by the shadow of Covid. The couple is looking forward to gifting eco-friendly hampers to friends and family. Nikhar and her mother-in-law Anita Midha have personally crafted each of these hampers with assorted goodies like tulsi seed balls, a handmade diya, a scented candle, assorted nuts, exotic seeds and rangoli colours, besides an idol of Lord Ganesha. “For us, it is the smile that the gift will bring that makes it so special. After all, it’s Diwali,” says Nikhar.

The vibrant festive spirit that had been missing for the past two years is back. It is evident in the crowded markets, decorated showrooms, and, of course, the traffic snarls as the revellers are out shopping and sharing gifts with their loved ones.

The market predictions for Diwali are particularly upbeat for sectors like jewellery, automobiles, consumer durables and electronics. According to the Confederation of All India Traders, the online and offline sales during the festival period, which started in September-end and will last till early November, are estimated to cross $27 billion, including nearly $15.2 billion in offline sales.

Imported porcelain and luxury tableware brands like Noritake, Sivica, Nachtmann and Henniger, stylish wooden kitchenware as well as Indian blue pottery are popular gifting choices. “Luxury crockery and imported wine glasses, home appliances such as coffee machines, cold press juicers, air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, oil heaters and furnishings like bed comforters are top-sellers,” says Mukesh Sehgal, manager at DCA Mega Mall, Chandigarh.

Exquisite coffee and tea boxes, handmade chocolates, cakes, baklavas, macarons and cookies, along with good-old mithai and exotic fruits, are lending flavour to the festivities. “The buying pattern is evolving and customers have become conscious eaters. Our specially curated Diwali gifting section has touched this segment,” says Nikhil Mittal, director of Nik Baker’s, which has branches across Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Says Ravinder Pal Singh of Khalsa Dry Fruits, Chandigarh, “The business is doing much better this year but there are not many bulk orders.” Agrees Ravinder Singh of Celebration gift shop in Ghumar Mandi, Ludhiana. “Bulk ordering of the same product is not there but people are buying more variety,” he says.

Given that Diwali, and particularly Dhanteras, are considered auspicious for buying and gifting gold and silver, the metals are shining bright. “While jewellery is an all-time favourite, coins, standalone earrings, chains and bracelets are popular gifting choices. The range varies as per budget,” says Anil Talwar of Talwarsons Jewellers.

The festival is also bringing much hope to the auto industry, which sees a buying spurt during this period. “We have delivered more than 45 cars since October 1 while 15 are awaiting delivery till Diwali,” says Vikas Rohila, sales and marketing head at Harmony Honda, Chandigarh.

Like every festive season, the electronic goods market is looking chirpy again. Banks and credit card companies are offering easy loans and EMIs on the purchase of refrigerators, microwave ovens, LEDs and music systems. Says Panchkula-based Kanika Arora, “I’d been thinking of buying a refrigerator for some time. The festival bonanza has brought many discounts and options, which I have lapped up.”

The increasing footfall at the electrical goods market is indicative of the sales bouncing back. The presence of Chinese lights and lanterns, too, is hard to miss. “Waterproof lights and diyas that can be lit by pouring water on them are catching the fancy of customers,” says Amit Sehgal, president of Phagwara Gate Market Association, Jalandhar.

As far as festive fashion is concerned, there has been a shift in customer preferences, says Abhishek Maloo, senior director at Flipkart Fashion. “Sarees and denims were the leading categories last Diwali. This year, there is an upward trend in ethnic, contemporary and men’s casual wear,” he says.

New dresses are a must for every festive occasion, says Gurugram-based Sumati Sodhi, whose trousseau has been upgraded with a range of Indo-western formals for all seven days of the pre-Diwali bashes and card parties that she and her husband Amit are organising and attending. The duo purchased their gifts last month, mostly online. “Web platforms have made it very convenient to shop and one doesn’t have to worry about getting stuck in crowded markets,” adds Sumati.

Online shopping has been gaining foothold across different categories with around 60 per cent of customers, in their 30s and 40s, holding large disposable incomes. “Many online festive offers have been extended till November 1. Mobile phones, home appliances and kitchenware are seeing an upshoot. Discount offers by brands like Tanishq, Joy Alukkas, Senco and PC Chandra Jewellers across web platforms have led to an increase in the online purchase of jewellery items,” says Punit Gupta, CEO of EasyEcom, the omnichannel inventory and warehouse management company, which has e-commerce integrations with platforms like Amazon, Ebay, Shopify, Flipkart, etc. Online platforms give a lot of scope for experimental buying, says Gurugram-based businessman Sandeep Tandon. “I like to buy local. A lot of new entrepreneurs register themselves on platforms like Cred and offer massive discounts on good quality innovative products.”

According to statistics of the India Brand Equity Foundation, the country’s e-commerce market is expected to reach $111 billion by 2024 and $200 billion by 2026.

Among the other trends that can be seen this time is an increasing demand for health and wellness gift hampers, says Pawan Gadia, CEO of Ferns n Petals, which has more than 120 retail stores across the country. “While 60-70 per cent of the orders remain in the range of Rs 600-Rs 800, nearly 25 per cent are between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500,” he says, adding that since the emphasis is on the pleasure of opening the gift, packaging is vital. Agrees Delhi-based Ruchita Bansal, creative director of Izzhaar, offering luxury gifting options. Says Bansal, “The zeal of gifting is back. People are enthusiastic about sustainable gifts for both corporate and personal gifting. There is a significant shift towards eco-friendly gifts and unique packaging. The average budget and ticket size, however, is marginally high by 5 to 10 per cent.”

Work from home has brought about a change in corporate as well as client gifting. Many corporates are gifting electronic items like power banks, chargers, bluetooth speakers, smartwatches, headphones to employees as well as clients, says Neha Mukhija, founder of www.makemygift.we.

“For my friends, I have readied a variety of hampers, which include bakery items, dry fruits, pottery pieces, incense sticks, designer candles, teabags, etc. For my business clients, I have sent across bedsheets and electric kettles, while for workers, it is sweet boxes and kitchenware,” says an excited Adwedita Tiwari, Jalandhar-based businesswoman. It is the joy of gifting that is the essence of this festival, she concludes.

(Inputs from Deepkamal Kaur in Jalandhar and Shivani Bhakoo in Ludhiana)


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