One of the most popular Hindu festivals, Diwali has a rich tradition of gifting. During the festival of lights, small and large businesses reward its stakeholders who have been involved in their journey to success.
Stakeholders typically means clients, industry bodies, funding houses, government bodies, etc. But in reality, employees are perhaps the most important stakeholders for any business. Showering them with gifts on Diwali is a powerful mechanism to keep them happy. Usually, companies present them with gifts ranging from money, sweets, clothing, gadgets, and vouchers, etc. Many employees also enjoy the benefit of an extended leave.
This year, SMBStory had a chat with a few small and large Indian businesses from across the country to find out what they are gifting their employees and clients this year. Let us see what they have in store.
New organisations are still getting into the groove of gifting. Koko Boost, a new startup which manufactures nutritious energy bars made with indigenous ingredients such as millets and moringa, is a case in example.
Thejaswi S, Founder, Koko Boost, says, “Diwali is celebrating the victory of good over evil. Today's lifestyle is filled with evils like junk food and a sedentary and lethargic lifestyle. To overcome all these, we want everyone to be pampered with the goodness of our products. Last Diwali, we were too young to gift our employees. But this time, we have gift hampered our own products. By next Diwali, we owe to give them big.”
Merhaki Foods, which blends modern science with Ayurveda to manufacture bioactive lifestyle beverages for women, is hosting a fun potluck for its employees. The startup’s office will be filled with merriment and also witness hidden ‘Masterchefs’, according to Ankur Goyal, Founder, Merhaki Foods.
On the other hand, older businesses are going strong, and many are increasing their gifting budgets for employees and clients. Leena Munot, Founder, The Giving Tree, says, “There is huge growth in corporate gifting. Sellers also have a large catalogue, which overwhelms and confuses buyers. Still, we see certain trends in the market. For example, chocolates have fallen in demand this year.”
Leena also notes that eco-friendly products with utility value are becoming more popular. She adds, “When gadgets are given as gifts, there is a preference that they should be of a good brand. If the brand of the gadget is good, then it reflects positively in the eyes of the recipients (clients and employees).”
She also sees a 30 to 35 percent spike in sales of gifting items this time of the year. “It is normal to expect anywhere upto 50 percent rise in sales,” she adds.
Unibic India is another brand focussing on utility value. During Diwali, it normally introduces 10 to 14 packs in the gifting range and presents these to stakeholders. “Clients and employees also consider the uniqueness of gifts. It should be something different from the usual presents. This way, cookies are considered to be premium,” says Aarti Iyer, Marketing Head, Unibic India. “Regular Indian sweets, nuts, chocolates, etc. are generic and have become the norm. Our cookies definitely break the clutter. They are the most desired gift within our organisation.”
While a number of companies refrain from purchasing presents and opt to gift their own products, some others now prefer to place their orders online.
Suraj Singh of Aastha Steel Centre told PTI, “The online market has entirely killed our sales. Earlier, we would get large pre-Diwali orders of 500-700 items like cookers and tiffin sets. But now nobody is looking for such big orders. They only buy one or two items like spoons, steel plates, or bowls.”
Online sales combined with the challenges and competition of physical selling in a cluster, as is the case in most marketplaces in India, makes it tricky for the local gift shops. Rohini Fashions, Balaji Furniture, and Olives (which is also into fashion), all situated in Commercial Street in Bengaluru, report that the number of Diwali orders have gone down.
However, like most opportunistic sellers, they see the challenge as a stepping stone to opening up their inventories to online sellers. Data from Amazon India shows that a large part of the inventories of the online shopping portals was being provided by offline retailers, according to PTI.