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When ‘Dhan’ in Dhanteras becomes elusive
Vishakha Singh, Head-MarCom, Future Media India
For months, my maid has been saving money to buy gold earrings on Dhanteras for
her soon-to-be-married daughter and I was astonished, when the daughter said she
wants a mobile phone and not the earrings! A quarrel ensued and it’s a no-brainer
to guess that the daughter had her way.
Another fact, it has been a tradition in our family to buy gold on Dhanteras.
Every year, to prove the virtues of a good daughter-in-law, I diligently buy a
gold coin, earn brownie points from in-laws, lock it in the safe and forget all
about it! This year, at Chintamanis, Prabhadevi, I noticed a reporter from a leading
business channel doing a story on how the sale of gold has been weak this year.
I reason it out in my mind and attribute it to the price hike from Rs 9,400 (for
10 gms of gold) last year to Rs 11,400 this year. Naturally, the store looked
relatively at ease and allowed the camera crew to do a story!
Two days later, on Diwali afternoon, I land up at Big Bazaar and am surprised
to see the mobile counter teeming with a 4-5 layered crowd. I didn’t see
this rush at Brijwasi, the sweets shop, I didn’t see this rush at the
electronics section but only at the mobile counter and I tried to put some logic
to this consumer behaviour.
Telecommunications is taking precedence over everything else. I don’t
know the global economics, I don’t know the commodities exchange or the
Sensex, all I try is to read sentiments and the coolest one this season is:
‘Dhan’ now means Living for Today!
It is not about spending on something which has long-term value, it is not only
steel utensils or silver or gold or whatever…it is about NOW. It is about
what I want today.
A mobile handset has a lower shelf-life and a depreciating value, but on esteem
factors it is Incredibly Soaring!
The weekends of October 19-21 and 26-28 saw a similar pattern of shopping behaviour
wherein the top volume movers have been
• Pre-paid GSM cards
• Carbonated soft drinks
November 7, the D-Day (Dhanteras day), saw a huge splurge in overall sales
across Big Bazaar, higher than any of the weekends. And the most surprising
element was the volume hike in the sale of Dry Fruits -- again an example of
living for Today!
And all of these are behaviours of nearly 20 lakh people across Big Bazaar,
Food Bazaar in just five days!
I wonder, am I an outdated person, who buys Gold for Ma-in-law’s sake
just to keep it in the safe or should I have changed my two-year-old handset
which looks like a ‘dabba’ today!
(These are personal views of Vishakha Singh, Head-MarCom, Future Media India
Ltd. The data used in the note are the sales data of the respective formats.)