We are in the middle of the season of frenzied shopping – the period that brands and retailers wait for. And this year, going by the trends from the great festive sales online and offline, consumers have opened their wallets. Revenge shopping was on with rising inflation and higher interest rates not really impacting consumer sentiments. So what has India shopped for and were there any behaviour shifts? It is hard to generalise but a few visible trends are:

Pyjamas out, power dressing is in

With offices opened, festive get-togethers galore and the marriage mart totally opened up, Indians are back to dressing up. Ethnic wear and formal clothing is especially doing well. A MarketXcel survey conducted just before Diwali and encapsulated in a report ‘The changing spectacle for festivities’ finds that 55 per cent of respondents said they would purchase new clothes and fashion accessories. Shopify’s Festive Outlook Survey found that over 81 per cent had intent to purchase new clothes. And on actual consumption, the Confederation of All India Traders said that apparel had recorded a growth of almost 10 per cent this year. But there was some hangover of the work-from-home comfort wear trend – with anti-fit wear (loose and flowy) D2C brands really doing well.

The hamper gets healthier

Over the years, the Diwali hampers have been getting healthier with makhana (foxnut) based snacks, baked nibbles, dry fruit and millet laddoos finding favour. This year saw the trend gaining further and additionally, a bigger segment of consumers expressing desire to shop more sustainably. This meant more patronage to home-made, artisanal and eco-friendly items and use of online as well as channels like Dunzo and WeFast to deliver gifts, rather than rushing around oneself. “We observed an order growth of 10-15 per cent during the weekend and the day of Diwali,” said Mrunmayi Oke, VP, Category and Growth, Dunzo, adding that there was high upticks in sweets, dry fruits and snacks categories.

Planned purchases, Premium moves

According to MarketXcel’s report, impulse purchases were slashed this time. “Today, customers are well prepared through detailed information searches and price comparisons online to justify most expenditures,” said the report. Most durable makers reported that mid and premium level products moved far better than entry level products. According to the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association, while mid and premium products clocked a 30 per cent volume growth in sales, entry level products saw a dip of 10 per cent in sales volumes. Kitchen appliances – especially smoothie makers, airfryers did very well.

Traditional brands catch up

Last festive season belonged to the D2C players – with consumers buying selectively, and looking for interesting niche products it was the D2C brands backed by some inspiring storytelling that scored. This year, however, as volumes picked up honours were even, with traditional brands managing to woo back consumers thanks to more affordable pricing and innovative campaigns.

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