Diwali spending surges

22 October 2014

HYDERABAD: India's consumers are growing in confidence and expect to spend significantly more during the current holiday period than they did last year.

A survey of more than 1,200 working professionals by ArthaYantra.com, the online personal finance advisor, found that 73% planned on spending between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000 during Diwali 2014. This was a marked increase from 2013, when most professionals were spending between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000.

While all age groups and income levels anticipated an increase in spending, this was most marked among the 35-to-45 year olds, whose spending intent was running at between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000.

The survey also highlighted a shift in what was being bought, with more consumers this year inclined to buy gifts for friends and family, rather than clothes and fireworks which dominated in 2013.

ArthaYantra.com described the changes as "tectonic" in some cases. For example, among those with an income of less than Rs 5 lakh, the intent to buy gifts for friends and families had increased from 8% in 2013 to 44% in 2014.

It further argued that the Diwali advertising campaigns being run by online and offline retailers were not having any significant impact on purchase decisions but were simply changing the purchase channel.

On the ground, retailers are already reporting a strong festive season. According to Nilesh Gupta, managing partner of consumer electronics chain Vijay Sales, there has been a 20% to 25% increase in demand, with a lot of interest in the latest iPhone.

"We are seeing people are willing to spend money and this is all due to the good sentiments," he told CNBC-TV18.

Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director, Future Group, agreed that "the uptick is very strong – there is no question about it". But he declined to put a figure on it and sounded a note of caution, with several days of the holiday still to come before it ended in mid-week.

Data sourced from Business Wire, MoneyControl; additional content by Warc staff