New Delhi: It’s Diwali again and like every year it’s about so many gifts to give and such a bewildering variety to choose from.
There’s the acceptable dinner set and the chic candle stand, the new-age beauty hamper and the gourmet food basket, the useful mobile phone and bluetooth speaker, and, of course, the good old box of chocolates, bottle of wine and trusted ‘mithai’.
Rich or not so much, this is the one occasion in the calendar when most people exchange gifts, going the extra mile to ensure that it reaches in time.
And so, notwithstanding a slowdown in the economy, the roads are jammed and shops full as people push their way through crowds to grab just the right gift before it runs out of stock.
Uma Anand, for instance, spent some three hours at the Home Centre in Pacific Mall here recently to pick up a range of Diwali decor items such as tea lights, designer lanterns and figurines of Laxmi and Ganesh to be sent to her family and friends.
“Gifting culture is an integral part of Diwali. This is our creation and there is no way you can get out of it… you get gifts, you are bound to return the favour in cash or kind. The art lies in not going out of budget though,” the 53-year-old said.
The business and trade lobby could not be happier. “Festive numbers have been good, sales wise as well as footfall numbers… the buying patterns have changed but the quantum seems to be increasing,” said Arjun Gehlot, director, Ambience Malls. According to Gehlot, the electronics section in particular is witnessing a ‘good upswing’.
People can be also be seen ditching conventional gift choices such as bed linen and crockery sets, and picking up smart watches and fitness bands, mixer grinders, juicers, and ovens.
Gifting an ‘experience’ is a new trend this Diwali. Instead of dropping off a package at their loved ones’ homes, many have decided to gift them a break from their hectic lives by booking them an exclusive ‘staycation’, a swimming or a workout session, or a luxurious spa at five-star hotels.
“Diwali is all about revelry and it’s a great idea to spend quality time with loved ones amidst lush greenery and escape the urban chaos and pollution. So we have prepared packages for people. We have a plethora of festive offerings – like diya lighting ceremony, campfires, rangoli making and sky lanterns – and experience a different Diwali,” said the general manager of a five-star hotel here.
Like everything else, the online sector has also managed to penetrate the Diwali gifting segment with people getting gifts delivered not just to those living in the city, but also to those living outside. The discounts are enticing, and the inconvenience minimum.
Snapdeal has discounts ranging from ‘20-80 per cent’ on sarees and kurta pyjamas, small kitchen gadgets below Rs 1,000, pooja items, and personal use gadgets.
“Our sales have grown more than 50 per cent over last year’s Diwali sales. More than 90 per cent of the orders received were from non-metro locations. There has been a multi-fold increase in orders received from smaller cities. The increase in volumes from smaller cities was a pan-India trend,” said a Snapdeal spokesperson.
The corporate sector relies heavily on gift cards as Diwali presents for its employees.
‘Gyftr’, which offers digital gift vouchers from leading brands across various categories to big corporations including IBM, Accenture, Michelin, HP and Genpact, said it registered a ‘double digit year-on-year growth’ in the number of gift vouchers issued and redeemed during the current festive season.
PNN & Agencies