Sales of smartphones and electronics grew 15-20% during the month-long period from early October to Dhanteras-Diwali from the year-earlier festive season led by higher demand for mid-to-premium products and price increases. Retailers and malls said apparel and lifestyle products sales surged to exceed 2019’s pre-Covid festive season levels.
Electronics and smartphones would have done even better if supplies hadn’t been constrained, taking a toll on volumes, which went up in low single digits from last year’s record surge.
However, companies said consumer sentiment and demand were better than last year, driving higher ticket sizes, aided by improvements in income, employment stability, overall economic outlook and low Covid infection rates.
“Festive season growth has been steady but could have been better if supplies of premium products were consistent, since consumer sentiments have been extremely buoyant,” said Deepak Bansal, vice president, LG .
Consumer sentiment is at an all-time high for festive buying, said Samsung India senior VP Raju Pullan.
LG and Samsung expanded festive revenue by over 20% from last year. Smartphone maker Realme’s sales grew by over 40% with an 11% surge in average selling prices, indicating greater purchase of premium products. Panasonic grew sales by 42%.
Madhav Sheth, president of Realme’s international business and CEO of Realme India, said festive sales are expected to extend through the weekend, and actual sales would have been significantly higher if the supply chain gap could have been closed. He said this festive season, there is amazing growth in sales from both online and offline channels.
All top brands including Samsung, Apple, LG, Xiaomi and Bosch have faced supply issues during this year’s festive season due to shortage of semiconductor chips and other components due to a fractured global supply chain.
Demand has been higher for mid-to-premium end products with consumers preferring to upgrade, including in smaller towns, said Eric Braganza, president of the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association.
Companies said while ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart gave the initial boost to this year’s festive sales by kicking things off a few days before Navratri and running promotions consistently for a month, footfalls in malls and brick-and-mortar too improved, aided by high vaccination numbers.
“Both sales and footfalls were higher across categories compared to the 2019 level and we are experiencing the best sales performance since the pandemic,” said Rajendra Kalkar, president, west, Phoenix Mills, which operates more than half a dozen malls in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. “Categories such as jewellery and ethnic are growing at the fastest pace, indicating a positive consumer sentiment and festive mindset.”
Puma India managing director Abhishek Ganguly said sales grew 40% at stores and nearly 70% online from last year.
“Even compared with 2019 levels, the growth is substantially high and we expect the momentum to continue,” he said. “Unlike last year when shopping was very individualistic, this time we are seeing friends and families shopping together.”
Retailers like Vijay Sales, Sangeetha Mobiles and Great Eastern Retail reported over 15-20% growth in sales with business spiking during Dussehra and Dhanteras. Brands said sales on Amazon and Flipkart grew at double-digit pace with the online shopper base having expanded 20% this festive season from last year.
Panasonic India president Manish Sharma said ecommerce further drove sales in smaller towns this year, including for high-value products.
Even small retailers and neighbourhood markets across the country reported a surge in footfalls. The Confederation of All India Traders lobby group said Wednesday that nationwide Diwali sales have revived after two years and are likely to touch Rs 1 lakh crore, while jewellery worth Rs 7,500 crore was sold on Dhanteras alone.
The industry expects this momentum to continue due to the early onset of marriage season this year with multiple auspicious dates in November and a consistent improvement in mall traffic.