India switches on its shopping mode as festivals approach, sales set to jump 20%
Consumer sentimenthas improved and Indians are eager to celebrate this festive season, says a survey.
- Consumers are keen to splurge on luxury goods, beauty and personal care products, consumer durables and more.
- With a surge in inquiries, real estate players expect 20% growth in sales this season.
- Online retailers are also expected to see 18-20% in gross merchandise value.
AdvertisementIndians are gearing up for the festival season that kicks off with Ganesh Chathurthi this week. As the auspicious months arrive, the real estate sector is upbeat with new launches and more, but the shadow of the monsoons lingers over automobile dealers and jewellers.
This season, Indians are not shying away from high-profile purchases this festive season as the real estate sector has reported healthy inquiries – thanks to the high consumer sentiment due to heightened economic activity.
“As we approach the festive season, we are already witnessing a surge in inquiries and we are expecting around 20% growth compared to last year’s festive season. This naturally offers a context for consumers to go in for their dream homes as the overall climate is geared towards sustained demand,” said Ramani Sastri, chairman & MD of Sterling Developers.
The demand for new homes has been growing and has hit an all-time high, and realtors expect a windfall this season, aided by growth in new launches especially in the mid and luxury categories. Rising homeownership amongst millennials, aided by the higher disposable income and willingness to upgrade to larger, luxurious spaces equipped with better amenities.
“Developers are optimistic about the desire for homeownership and anticipate that with attractive schemes and offers, the uptake for homes across cities will be healthy. Further, the unchanged repo rates and the appraisal cycle that coincides with the festive season, will provide a much-needed boost to the residential sales figures in the coming months,” said Kanika Gupta Shori, founder and COO, Square Yards.
Consumer goods are also expected to see traction this season, thanks to the underlying need to improve living standards combined with the surge in the need for comfort in households.
“People are upgrading to a more premium lifestyle and our products, with their distinct combination of technology, ultra-modern look and cutting-edge features, will continue to find traction. The focus on launching new products, coupled with good deals and enhanced distribution, especially in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, should help brands during the festive season ahead,” said Parag Kulkarni, senior VP-international and president, A O Smith India, who are known for their water heaters and purifiers.
Better than last year
The festive mood is also high for other purchases like clothes, luxury goods and more. A survey by global technology company The Trade Desk says that 70% of Indians are ready to spend more this Diwali – that’s a 35% higher than last year.
The year of 2022 was one of the first festival seasons which was not masked by fear of Covid-19 in the last few years. This year, sales are expected to be better. “With the broader economy coming back to business-as-usual levels, this festive season is likely to catalyze online consumption demand,” said a report by Redseer.
With regards to online shopping, the growth in gross merchandise value (GMV) of sales is expected to be 18-20% higher than what it was in the 2022 festival season – which saw a 10% growth.
“The planned increase in consumer spend is led primarily by consumers’ bullish view that their financial situation has improved according to 53%, and consumers’ eagerness to celebrate a lot more this year as per 49%,” The Trade Desk says.
A significant majority ie. 84% expressed interest in buying luxury goods and apparel, with 80% on gold, as per Trade Desk survey. Amongst those who plan to spend more, 68% are more likely to spend more on new clothes, the rest on food items, gifts for family and more.
Within e-tailing, beauty and personal care products, home and general merchandise, fashion are expected to see high demand – with persistent premiumization.
Auto and gold sales rely on rural demand for growth uptick
After an upbeat August sales when sales of passenger vehicles and three-wheelers hit an all-time high, the outlook for auto sales too is upbeat.
Advertisement“Based on the performance of last month (August) , we are even more optimistic for demand to pick-up during the festive season, enabled by positive economic outlook and the revival of monsoon after a deficit in August,” said Vinod Aggarwal, the president of industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Two-wheeler sales, however, remained dull due to subdued rural demand on account of insufficient rainfall that could temper sales growth going ahead, as per experts. Consumer demand in this segment has remained ‘ambivalent’ according to yet another industry body Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA).
The monsoons have been in a deficit for most of the season, while a pick-up is expected in September. Without that pick-up, combined with low reservoir levels can have both direct and indirect effect on consumption both in rural and urban areas. Low sowing across two cropping seasons can have a devastating effect on inflation — driving down consumer sentiment across auto and other sectors.
“After a prolonged period of stagnation, rural demand is showing signs of a positive resurgence. However, this recovery remains tenuous, contingent on the performance of the final phase of the monsoon season. Such developments would be particularly inopportune as they would coincide with the peak of India's festive season, notably Navratri and Deepawali, traditionally periods of heightened consumer activity,” said FADA.
Jewellery sales too could be clouded by inflation, say experts, even as the yellow metal’s prices have been inching down on account of various macro economic factors.
Advertisement“With the start of the festive and wedding season, domestic gold demand is expected to gain impetus. However, higher inflation and weaker rural income on account of a less than ideal monsoon could potentially weigh on demand,” says Ghazal Jain, fund manager, alternative investments at Quantum Mutual Fund.
Others, however, feel that consumers would be keen on addition to their physical old portfolio driven by the lower prices. Their prices have come down from a high of ₹61,750 per 10 gm in May to ₹59,000 per 10 gm currently — a healthy 20-25% drop from the recent surge.
“Festive seasons have consistently witnessed a surge in physical gold demand, particularly in the realm of ornamental jewellery, as consumers seek the latest and trendiest designs. After a period of subdued festivities, the recent years have seen a resurgence in celebrations, rekindling the enthusiasm for gold,” said Jateen Trivedi, VP-research at LKP Securities.
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