In what’s seen a surprise surge in Diwali shopping this year, Retailers have been taken by surprise with the inflow of customers. The peak shopping before the most celebrated festival across India begins usually 2 weeks before the festival. However, with a long weekend during Dassera and just 3 weeks to go until Diwali, shoppers are flocking retail stores much to the joy of shopkeepers.
Several retail formats including, fashion, apparel, accessories, footwear, large format Department stores, etc. have reported a 30-50% increase in week on week sales; compared to 2021, sales have grown 100% during the same comparitive period while sales have grown over 20% compared with 2019 sales. Diwali (2022) will be celebrated on Monday 24 Oct. across India, except for some parts of Eastern India where Durga Puja (during Dassera) is the bigger festival period.
“We never expected this kind of crowds even during the 5-day weekend during Dassera. Our assumptions went wrong and we were understocked during this period”, says Ganesh who runs an apparel store in Rajaji Nagar. “With a long weekend of this kind after a long time, we thought many would take a vacation to the hills in Coorg or Chikmaglur but we were so wrong”, says the first-gen retailer who is upset with the loss of sales. “Dassera shopping in Karnataka happens once Navarathri begins; I am amazed that customers are pouring in even during the last 2 days of the festival, clearly indicating revenge shopping due to the prolonged lockdowns due to Covid-19”.
The situation was no different across India, including large metro cities, malls in high traffic locations as well as smaller towns. The last week of September and the first week of October turned up to be one of the best in the current financial year. The heat on shopping usually is pent-up to the last minute. This year, Diwali shopping will see 3 weekends – 7/8, 15/16 and 22/23 Oct. just ahead of the festival. With “back-to-Work” in full swing, shopping for the workplace seems to be a priority. With the wedding season ahead and several days of Muhurat, there is also a huge spending in the anvil for ethnic clothing, especially since the Big fat Indian wedding has been a muted affair for the past 2 years.
Amazon and Flipkart had their respective shopping festivals ahead of Dassera. Despite being a preferred way to shop in bigger cities over the past 2 years due to the pandemic led lockdowns, customers seem to be breaking the shackles and take every effort possible for a retail therapy to visit offline stores, a trend that is welcomed by physical retailers.