It was a mixed bag for retail sales this Dhanteras, with gold and silver witnessing brisk sales while the festival cheer was missing for consumer goods and auto sales.
Dhanteras is considered the most auspicious day in the Hindu calendar for purchasing gold. This year, lower gold prices and pent-up demand generated huge festival demand for precious metals. Traders said easing the falling number of Covid patients and easing of restrictions also helped increase the footfall.
Demand during this Dhanteras is much better than last year and consumers are buying lightweight jewellery, Delhi-based PC Jeweller Managing Director Balram Garg is quoted as saying in media reports.
Kolkata-based Nemichand Bamalwa and Sons co-founder Bachhraj Bamalwa is quoted as saying that consumers are returning to physical stores to buy, unlike last Dhanteras when sales had shifted to online platforms due to pandemic curbs. Bamalwa, a former chairman of All-India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, also said gold sales are likely to touch the pre-pandemic level.
High prices have, however, dampened the sales of silver, he added.
PNG Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director Saurabh Gadgil is quoted as saying that this Dhanteras sales are expected to almost double compared to the same in 2019.
Senco Gold and Diamonds CEO Suvankar Sen said consumers are picking up neck pieces and wedding jewellery. There is also demand from floating consumers for light weight jewellery, he said, adding that the business is expected to be 10-15% higher than in 2019.
Retailers in consumer goods and automobiles rued that the festival spirit was missing in sales. High inflation, the lingering impact of Covid-19 and global shortage of semiconductors are believed to have dampened the demand. According to a Business Standard report, two-wheeler and car deliveries on Dhanteras were estimated to be lower by 30% compared to last year’s sales.
The newspaper quoted Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice president, Godrej Consumer Appliances as saying that last year’s euphoria was missing.
The report also quoted Eric Braganza, President, Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA), as saying that “sales have been good so far”.
Nandi said rural sales remained tepid as rural buyers are still recovering from the impact of the second wave. Demand for low-frill variants of consumer appliances have a bigger hit, while premium segment products are seeing a 20% growth, he added
Braganza noted that the mass market segments show a jump once the marriage season kicks in.
Nilesh Gupta, managing director at Vijay Sales is quoted saying that sales have been low ]compared to last year even as he expressed the hope that sales would pick up in the remaining days of the festival.
Vinkesh Gulati, President, Federation of Automobile Dealers Association, summed up the mood in the automobile business when he said “this is the worst festive season for Indian auto retail in the last decade”.
The Business Standard quoted him as saying that chip shortage has impacted supplies of vehicles in a big way. He also said there is less demand for entry-level passenger vehicles as customers are conserving money for healthcare needs, he said.
Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing at car market leader, Maruti Suzuki India, is quoted as saying that Dhanteras deliveries are expected to be almost on a par with last year, but the stocks will be depleted big time.
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