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The Return Of The Cautious Shopper

The Dussehra to Diwali festivities are all about spending and account for half the annual sales of manufacturers of everything, from white goods to smartphones. The writing on the wall is that this year, the Indian consumer is set to loosen purse-strings

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In india, there is a saying in local dialects that roughly translates to 12 months, 13 festive seasons — it reflects the importance given to festivals in the country. Still, it is the Dusshera-Diwali seasons — festivals popular across India — that bring marketers together to compete for consumer’s attention. Marketers plan ahead for these festive months with new product launches, incremental marketing spends, and consumer offers, for leveraging this demand tsunami.

This is also a very critical time of the year as vendors and retailers’ revenue can be realised. Flipkart and  Amazon claimed record online sales ahead of Dusshera and Diwali. The five-day sales festival from 10-14 October ended on a high note with sales jumping 70-80 per cent. Consumer durables, especially  large household and kitchen appliances and televisions showed a phenomenal growth during the online sale.  Flipkart reported a sales growth of 105 per cent in this category, with a large chunk of the sales coming from tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

Automakers are hopeful that sales will be robust during the festive season, but more so  in rural markets. Since consumers typically want their cars or two-wheelers delivered during Navratra, Dusshera, or Diwali, companies are ready with inventory as demand goes up multifold during Dhanteras. Real estate firms and developers are hoping for more business this Diwali but the focus remains on clearing existing inventory.

Smartphone brands expect a surge in handset sales as the consumers hunt for great offers and discounts. October saw gold prices rise by Rs 220 to Rs 32,270 per 10 grams, as the upward trend continued unabated for the fourth straight week, backed by persistent buying by local jewellers to meet the festive season demand coupled with positive global cues.

The festive season will be a positive growth driver for the FMCG companies, as they expect this quarter to be much more lucrative for brands unlike last year, when growth was subdued as the economy was still recovering from demonetisation and getting attuned to the GST. However, this year can be termed as the ‘year of the consumer’ going by the gigantic sales figures announced by e-commerce players in India, which directs us to conclude that consumer demand is on the rise unlike last year.

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consumer ecommerce magazine 13 October 2018