Consumers loosened their purse strings for a range of items, including jewellery, furniture, mobile phones, air-conditioners, laptops, cars, apparel and even luxury handcrafted chocolates.
Call it the added impact of the cricket World Cup, smartphones were a clear winner with huge consumer demand for premium range of phones. Vijay Sales, for instance, saw a nearly 50-55% year-on-year growth in sales of mobiles this festive season (from Navaratri to two days post Diwali). This, somewhat, indicates that consumption of on-the-go entertainment is a trend, which is here to stay.
“People are putting money in their mobiles. It is a device they don’t want to compromise on. When people travel, they watch content on their cell phones. The overall demand has been reasonably good and we saw more store footfalls this season. Laptops, smart-watches, small appliances and mobiles have done well,” said Nilesh Gupta, director, Vijay Sales.
Premiumisation has been the flavour of the season with consumers upgrading their purchases across most categories, including refrigerators, washing machines and ACs. The trend, which has been around for some time, has sustained despite inflation being stubborn in the past few quarters — thanks to various easy financing schemes for consumers. “Frost free (refrigerators) have done extremely well, single doors have not done well, top-loads (washing machines) have done well,” said Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice president at Godrej Appliances.
Festivities aside, the World Cup has aided the sales of bigger-sized premium TVs. Havells India witnessed substantial surge in demand for smart and QLED TVs, said executive vice-president Rajesh Rathi.
However, Gupta said that overall TV sales didn’t meet expectations, recording only single digit sales volume and value growth.
With summers being dull, AC makers cashed in on pent-up demand. Blue Star saw a 30% y-o-y sales growth through the Onam to Diwali period this year, said MD B Thiagarajan. Voltas partly attributed the robust festive demand to real estate expansion, new and renovated homes. “During the festive period, we witnessed a huge surge in demand, characterised by a notable shift towards premium products,” said a company spokesperson. “About 3-5 years back, the entry level consumers were not getting finance. Now they do and are also upgrading hence,” said Gupta. Eric Braganza, president at CEAMA, estimates that the consumer durables industry saw a 20% y-o-y sales growth this festive (Navaratri-Diwali) season.
Auto sector has already reaped in benefits of festivities. Powered by SUVs, the local car industry hit sales revenues of Rs 1.3 lakh crore between Onam and Bhai Dooj, TOI had reported earlier.
Jewellery was another consumer favourite with light weight items like bracelets, small chains being added to the shopping carts. Joyalukkas Group registered a 28% y-o-y increase in sales during the Dhanteras to Diwali period this year. Sales growth in gold alone was about 19%, said CEO Baby George.
With online democratising access to brands for all, demand for apparel shot up. Amazon said that its fashion segment recorded a three-fold growth in sales this festive season over last year. Premiumisation was pretty much evident here as well, with premium shoes and luxury beauty products among top choices. More than 60% of new shoppers of fashion and beauty products, in fact, came from tier II cities and beyond.
Even in the packaged foods space, gourmet offerings by players like ITC Foods made brisk business. Fabelle One Earth, a collection of luxury handcrafted truffles, was received well by consumers, said a company spokesperson.
Furniture retailer Pepperfry’s customers shopped for entry-level products online while high-value purchases were made through its studios. “Growth has been witnessed across key categories and price points. This shows recovery in consumer demand across the income demographics,” said chief operating officer Kushal Budhia.