The great festival season roadshow of consumer durable firms has well and truly begun. On Monday, Panasonic flew in film star Dia Mirza into Delhi to unveil its season's offerings at a glitzy ceremony. On the same day, Samsung too launched its Dusserah-Diwali “Samsung Smart Utsav” schemes. Philips, LG, Godrej all have rolled out discounts and promotions too.

But amidst the “dhoom dhamaka” offerings, industry watchers point to a new trend – that the huge spike in sales seen traditionally during the festival season is flattening out gradually. Instead of one big festival spike, retailers say they are seeing three or four spikes in sales during the year.

“The hump is slowly flattening out,” says Mr Giraj Sharma, a brand consultant who tracks the sector closely.

Typically, 30-40 per cent of the sales of durable makers come during the festival season. Panasonic's Director, Marketing and Sales Mr Manish Sharma, for instance, says 30 per cent of Panasonic's Consumer Sales Group's Rs 3,500 crore turnover is generated during these three months. That trend could change, says Mr Sharma.

He points to Onam, which used to contribute around nearly 60 per cent of the turnover of the durables industry in Kerala, but now has come down to 40 per cent. This Onam has reportedly been below expectations for retailers in Kerala, with torrential rain playing spoilsport, and consumers preferring to sit at home rather than venture out to shop.

Although Mr M. Asif, Executive Director of Oberon Mall in Kochi, said that the last two or three days made up for much of the rain-loss of the Onam season. Now, there are three important sales periods, he says. Sales surge during August-September around Onam, but, December-January is becoming equally if not more important, in terms of a sales spurt. The holiday months of April-May also see a spike in sales, he says.

This year, he says, was a bit unusual in that the Ramzan season sales continued for a longer period and spilled onto the Onam season.

In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka especially, the New Year is emerging as a very important sales time.

Mr B.A. Srinivasa, Director of retailer Viveks, while maintaining that the season around Diwali still remains important for retailers, says that for his own chain, it's the New Year sales that are peak time.

This year, he says, Independence Day sales too did very well, whereas the ‘ aadi ' sales that happen in the Tamil Nadu markets were not so hot.

Mr Srinivasa said with the markets growing, and competition hotting up, companies are offering promotions throughout the year.