Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Diwali special

Diwali is the gift season. Corporate executives, businessmen, politicians, public relations firms as well as ordinary folks throng the market to buy sweats and other items in bulk. However, economic slowdown appears to have dampened the Diwali spirits this year. Industrial houses have tightened their belts to cut down festival presents. Even ordinary folk are buying only what it absolutely necessary.
Festival of lights brings cheer to potters "We are seeing companies drastically reducing their budget for corporate gifts by around 30 percent and they are going very slow with purchasing gifts for Diwali this year. In fact, it's a 10-year low," says Divyendu Shekhar of Retail Analytics.
"I have regular clients who had been buying items like cut glass items and Ganesha idols in bulk for years. Quite a few of them have bought nothing this year. Others have cut down their orders and buying less costly items," says Sushil Kumar, manager of the Acrhie's Gallery in Khan Market.
Similar is the story of 50-year-old Shabnam Anjum, who manufactures gift items such as candle stands, diyas, figurines, lamps, portraits and frames.
Memories of a dark Diwali "Last year a company with a budget of Rs 500 per gift would order more than 1,000 pieces. Today the same company would slash down the budget for the gift to Rs 250 and order for 100 pieces. There's definitely a drop in handing out gifts this Diwali," he said.
According to Varun Khera, who runs two restaurants in Noida, business has been down by 30% for the last one year. "I've a client base of 500 whom I give presents every Diwali. This year, I've cut down such gifts to a minimum."
Even electronics goods shops that normally dish out complimentary gifts with purchases of high-end products have tightened their purse strings.
Rajat Gupta of Roshni Electronics in South Extension regrets that nobody is buying refrigerators, TV or music systems. "How can we offer complimentary gifts to the customer," he asks.
Diwali special Owners of sweetmeat and grocery shops are apprehensive but hope that people will spend some money to sweeten the bitter Diwali pill. "There might be some drop in bulk purchases, but individuals and their families will buy our stuff," says Rajiv Aggarwal of Aggarwal Sweets, which has more than 50 outlets in Delhi. Sanjay Purohit of Cadbury India agrees. "Chocolate is an affordable treat since we operate within a price range of Rs 5 to Rs 500. We believe chocolates will be the last to be scratched off people's shopping list during this Diwali," he hopes.


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