How gifting has taken a new turn during Diwali amid the pandemic

Celebrations during festivals in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a different hue. From what we have observed so far during Raksha Bandhan, Onam, Janmashtami, Ganesh Mahotsav, Navratra and Dussehra and Durga Puja in 2020, festivities are smaller, more intimate and definitely more digital as people remain cautious and avoid crowded places.

According to a study by EY, 84% of the respondents mentioned that they would prefer celebrating with only members from their household, while 44% wished to avoid crowded marketplaces. The fear is stronger in high spenders, with 52% likely to avoid visiting crowded marketplaces. Online sales are expected to pick up, with 28% homemakers planning to shop online for most festive requirements and 24% said that they would prefer couriering the gifts.

According to TRA’s Diwali 2020 Buying Propensity Report, 65% of those surveyed had positive sentiments around buying for the festivals; a further 28% were neutral and just 7% felt that buying sentiment would be worse than in the current period.

With socialising being avoided by most this year, Palash Agrawal, Founder, Vedas Exports, believed that though many people might choose not to go personally to relatives’ homes this Diwali, they would definitely want to express their love to them and gifts are the best form of expression. “We have seen rise in online sales largely. We at Vedas used to traditionally sell our products through retail outlets, but now we have seen the shift and have quickly adapted to online mode of delivery too,” Agrawal said.

FMCG brand Britannia launched, a one of a kind website where consumers can select a delectable hamper of Britannia products, personalise it with a message & photograph and place the order, which will be seamlessly delivered to their loved ones’ homes within a few days. Vinay Subramanyam, VP - Marketing, Britannia Industries Ltd, said, “We are happy to add a touch of personalisation to our annual gifting range of Britannia Shubhkamnayein. With the continued need for social distancing, we are all sure to miss those moments of fun and togetherness. helps us bridge that physical space a bit, and bring family and friends together through shared memories.”

Prashant Parameswaran, MD, Soulfull, Kottaram Agro, said, “Soulfull has seen a 200% rise in the e-commerce sales in this period. We have tied up with around 12 e-commerce and hyperlocal platforms, including the likes of SwiggyInsta Mart, which contributed to this growth.”

Hygiene and safety have never been as important as the pandemic times. Speaking about the safety and hygiene factor, Shevam Sood, Brand Development Manager, Bikaji Foods, said, “The pandemic made us realise that consumers have great faith in packaged sweets and namkeens. It has made the consumer more aware of safety due to which, while buying sweets, the consumers are opting more for packed sweets rather than buying loose sweets from the market. Also, it has made us push ourselves further to ensure product availability is there across all channels, that is, e-commerce, modern trade and retail trade.”

With most offices still continuing with the work from home mode, corporate gifting assumes even more importance this year as corporate seek to reassure their employees of things returning to normal and business buoyancy.

Speaking about the corporate gifting scenario, Uma Talreja, CCA, Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at Shoppers Stop Ltd, said, “With various occasions like Dhanteras, Bhai Dooj, we see traction for premium and luxury home brands, beauty kits and premium jewellery from brands like Swarovski, Emporia Armani and Micheal Kors as attractive options. We also have the best range of premium perfumes, including Jo Malone, Tom Ford, Burberry, and many more, which are also aspirational and liked by discerning customers, especially in the absence of international travel and no access to the duty free shopping. One can also gift Shoppers Stop gift vouchers or even gift someone our First Citizen Platinum or Black Card as a membership for extended privileges.”

With guests looking to celebrate with friends and family keeping in mind safety and hygiene as key priority, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) is offering guests an array of unique and exciting experiences for joyous and safe celebrations. “For those looking to gift a special surprise to loved ones this festive season, we, at IHCL, are also offering easy-to-use Taj Experiences Gift Cards or Taj Hospitality@Home e-gift cards, redeemable against holiday packages, dining, spa and other experiences across IHCL hotels in India, to bring home the festive cheer,” Rakhee Lalvani, Vice President – PR and Corporate Communications,  Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) said.


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