As sales revive, Diwali gifting lights up the corporate world

DNA, Mumbai, October 13, 2016

A bountiful monsoon coupled with overall positive market sentiment is set to drive demand for gifting products across business houses and MNCs this festive season. In fact, manufacturers, dealers and suppliers of gifting products are very upbeat and are expecting 50% to 100% growth – and in some cases even more – over the last year.

According to B Thiagarajan, joint managing director, Blue Star, the positive sentiments can be gauged based on the market response during the Onam festival. “This year we have seen almost 70% growth during the festival and I am confident that the upcoming Diwali festival will be equally good or better. Companies will look for festive gifting products for clients, vendors and employees alike,” he said.

The festive gifting trend was muted last year as market conditions were not very conducive owing to sluggish economic growth and alarming rise in food prices. However, that’s not the case this year and companies across manufacturing and services sectors are expected to fully utilise the budget earmarked for festive gifting.

FMCG firm Dabur India is expecting a good response to its gifting products. “Being one of the largest players in the gifting category, we hope this year will be good,” said a company spokesperson, adding that their ‘Real’ juices are among the most popular gifting items under its portfolio of products.

The festive season is an important time to maximise sales. In fact, premiumisation has become a key factor that’s influencing consumer choices while buying products for gifting, said industry experts.

“Aligned with this trend, we have introduced a variety of attractive retail Diwali gift packs in premium packaging comprising an assortment of delicious canned juices. We get close to 20% of our juices business from the Diwali festive packs. And going by the positive consumer sentiments, we are expecting at least a 50% sales growth over last year,” said Yogesh Bellani, CEO, FieldFresh Foods Pvt Ltd, makers of Del Monte products.

Sharing insights on gifting options beyond cookies, chocolates, dry fruits, exotic gift hampers, etc, Prakash Mundhra, proprietor of corporate gifting firm Sacred Moments, said companies have of late started looking at home decor, puja and related products for gifting. “High-end festival items like torans, home decor products, exotic diyas, puja kits, handcrafted items etc, are seeing good demand from corporate clients,” he said.

Mundhra added the flow of orders has been delayed by a week though due to border tensions with neighbouring countries. “However, orders have started coming now and there is a significant increase in the demand this year,” he said.

An emerging gifting trend with corporate houses, according to players like ItzCash and Zeta, is the use of digital products or e-gift cards. Digital gifting products during the festive season, according to Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, ItzCash, is being preferred by a lot of companies lately.

“Customised virtual visa gift cards were earlier used mainly by companies in the manufacturing and services industries with large employee base to send across festive gifts via an email with added benefit of claiming tax benefits (for gifts up to Rs 5,000). This approach allows for instant distribution, across locations, in just one click thus doing away with logistical hassles. However, companies are now starting to experiment with e-gift cards for their clients, suppliers / vendors as well,” said Vasa, adding that ItzCash is looking at over 100% growth with its e-gift card offerings this festive season.

Echoing the sentiments, Ramki Gaddipati, CTO and co-founder, Zeta (a cloud-based corporate benefits and rewards programme startup catering to MNC and SMEs), said there is reasonably good demand for their suite of products. “While I can’t share specific numbers, but from the kind of discussions we are having and the number of closures being made, I can definitely say that the market demand has exceeded our expectations,” he said.