Online sales pull down Delhi retail shops during Diwali

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Online sales have pull down retail shops in Delhi during Diwali.

Delhi’s markets, which usually witness bustling crowds and skyrocketing sales during festive seasons, bore a rather dull outlook this year with online sales stealing the crowds, market associations said on Monday.

Commodities like silver and gold, which on Dhanteras usually sell like hot cakes in the capital markets, raising the prices of these metals, did not do well this year, traders said.

However, the usual sale of gift items, sweets, confectionaries and dry fruits was still on a high note, they said.

According to Mohan Kukreja, president of the Sarojini Nagar Market Shopkeepers’ Association, it seemed just like any other day in the ever-vibrant and busy market.

“It seems like just another day despite the ongoing festive season. Not many have come today to shop for Dhanteras or even for Diwali,” Kukreja told IANS.

But for Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the markets seem a lot better this year than last year, which saw a boom in online sales.

“The market scene is a little better this year since items like gift articles, sweets, apparels, luggage and dry fruits have seen better sales than the last year,” he said.

Buying gold is usually considered the safest investment option (a security commodity) in India and is bought mainly during the festive times of Dhanteras and Diwali.

“With the wedding season starting right after Diwali, we get the maximum demand for gold and silver during this month. Demand for diamonds is still limited to the upper-middle class or rich people. The sale of commodities in the markets of Delhi overall has decreased drastically in the past few years due to e-commerce sites,” Khandelwal added.

From a year-long survey the CAIT conducted from October 2014 to study market trends, Khandelwal claimed it was established that 30-40 percent of the retail business has been taken away by the e-commerce industry.

“But there is a considerable trend change during this time of the year,” he said.

For the president of one of the most upscale markets of the city, Khan Market, the people are being drawn only for window-shopping or to restaurants, and not for commodity purchase.

“There is no hustle and bustle in the market this year. Khan Market has been one of the most popular markets in Delhi for years. People still visit us, but they do not buy any commodities from here for the past two years,” Sanjeev Mishra, president of the Khan Market Traders’ Association, told IANS.

Some shopkeepers have not been able to make a single sale, he added.

“Most of us have been sitting here since morning without a single sale. Diwali is barely two days away and people are not buying anything here. We have stopped anticipating if there will be any good sale this festive season. Even sale of jewellery is low this time. Usually on Dhanteras, the price of silver touches Rs 50,000 a kg, but today it hasn’t even reached Rs 37,000,” he claimed.