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The Diwali Barometer

'For marketers, Dussehra and Diwali are especially important. Unlike the other more regional festivals like Pongal or Ganesh Chaturthi, which are celebrated with varying degrees of importance and enthusiasm in different parts of the country, Dussehra and Diwali are more or less pan-Indian. While Dussehra and Diwali have different stories and rituals around the country, they have some standard features: ten days for Dussehra festivities, praying to Lakshmi for prosperity at Diwali. The entire social nature of these festivals is nearly standard right across India. The expansive spending mindset is already there. And if, at this time, consumers aren’t spending, it’s an indicator of how bad things actually are. And in good years this is when you make the upside on your sales.

Companies and retailers reinforce this scheme of things. It takes two to tango as far as shaping consumption behaviour is concerned. Brightly lit seductive displays, lots of festival offers and discounts, heavy advertising—all work together with the consumer’s desire and habitual plan to spend at this time and reinforce each other. It’s hard not to feel the electricity in the air, and it’s hard not to give in to a little bit of indulgence, whichever way you choose to define it. Even soap and shampoo companies will tell you that people upgrade to a higher priced set of brands during this season. Colour cosmetics sell more, even Rs 5 nail enamel.

- Rama Bijapurkar, 'The Lamplit Sales Graph'.


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