Did Indians Fail to illuminate this Diwali ?

Lackluster Diwali Retail Sales in IndiaDiwali is India’s time to turn it on: lights, fireworks, parties and long shopping lists. It’s when businesses get turned on: high season, new launches and lots of advertising.

What seems to stand out this festival of lights – is the lack of lights. There appears little illumination: across shops, malls and other public places. There appear few big / bright sales – few discounts/sales, modest queues and a lack of buzz. And while it’s really dull for jewelry/real estate, lusterless for autos (cars & scooters), and mixed for electronics, it’s generally pretty low and dull.

There are a few bright flares: apparel, mobile phones, some consumer electronics…and the elephant in the room, e-commerce. These appear encouraging, store/mall commentary is relatively positive and there’s a bit in the press too. It’s e-commerce that is the season’s serving; visible (even on buses), discounting and possibly ready to change India’s marketplace?

There is however optimism out there. Businesses – autos, rural related and property have been somewhat optimistic; footfalls, monsoons or maybe just hope. While autos have already reported an OK season, at a broader level, it’s probably more hope than optimism. Interesting to note, there’s little discounting/sales – pricing power, or that pricing isn’t enough?

What Caught Everybody’s Attention ?
Sweetest pitch: ‘Electronic Mithaas’ (Electronic sweets) – Croma Electronics store.
Most moving advertisement: An entire double-decker bus covered with a Flip-cart advertisement.
Longest queue at mall: Outside McDonalds Takeaway (Phoenix Mall, Mumbai).
Most exciting offer: Buy a Yamaha motorcycle and get to ride a motorcycle with Deepika Padukone, currently, India’s No.1 leading lady in Bollywood.
Biggest shopping bags: Carried by foreign west-Asian shoppers, in suits and ties
Biggest discount: Rs1,500 off (in vouchers), only to register on a large ecommerce site.