The demand for umbrellas and raincoats in the city is rising and umbrella makers seem to be competing with each other to come out with different and designer umbrellas with frills,Raymond check prints and images of cartoon characters to woo women,men and children.
A riot of coloured umbrellas,with different shapes,sizes,prints and brands ranging from Rs 60 to Rs 1,500 are flooding the markets and are being sold at a brisk pace allowing the shopkeepers to profit from the monsoons.
A wholesale distributor of umbrellas at Kapil Palace in Sector 22,Parvesh Chaudhary,said,While we supply more than 60 per cent of the umbrellas to Himachal Pradesh also,this year we expect to do good business in the city with increasing demand here. Our sales have already increased by 30 per cent this year. Mostly,now the trend is for small and two-folded umbrellas,though we have five-folded umbrellas too,but customers find them a little complicated. Usually,elderly people can be seen coming to buy bigger ones with curved handles which could also be used as supporting sticks.
Besides umbrellas,raincoats are also in high demand and are also available in all lengths,colours,weights and styles for all age groups. Plastic ponchos,ideally for women,trench rain coats with proper belts for both men and women and rain suits and overcoats ranging from Rs 250 to Rs 1,000 are available in the markets.
Parvesh said,We have golf-size umbrellas which have little fans inside supported by a button and net ranging from Rs 1,300 – 1,400 at the wholesale rate which can be used by both men and women,while we have specially designed umbrellas for children with LED lights and a torch,called dazzlers costing Rs 650-1000. We also have diamond-shaped and kite-shaped umbrellas for children. The demand for these is very low in the market as people nowadays buy cheaper umbrellas on a use-and-throw basis.
Nitin Rawal,an umbrella wholesaler in Shastri Market,Sector 22 said,The market for childrens umbrellas keeps on changing with the seasons. Umbrellas with whistles and ears popping out on being opened,which were in demand during previous years,are no longer in demand,now children come asking for the specific animal or cartoon characters printed on the umbrellas,like Doremon,Spiderman,Barbies and even Hannah Montana,while women have different choices,they prefer umbrellas with frills,floral prints,polka dots,with roses all over,fluorescent colours,bird graphics on them and possibly with bird-shaped handles. We manage to sell around 20-25 umbrellas daily.
The umbrella manufacturers are in Delhi and Bombay but I receive umbrellas from Bombay because there are many companies there that manufacture new varieties of umbrellas as per the demands. We have ample stock of Chinese umbrellas that are relatively cheaper but Indians have a liking for local brands instead of Chinese,though kids personally prefer Chinese umbrellas, added Chaudhary.
Another shopkeeper in Sector 19,Mohinder Chabbra,said,We only have Chinese umbrellas with us,especially for children. These days,the sales are high comparatively as monsoons have started and schools have also reopened three days ago,so children are rushing in to buy umbrellas. We are able to sell around 30 umbrellas per day.
At least a dozen umbrella repairers are also found glued to their jobs and mending hundreds of umbrellas of various sizes after the arrival of the monsoon.
One of the repairers,Shangara Singh,who has been repairing umbrellas for 27 years in Bijwada Market,Sector 22 said,I am receiving around 50-60 damaged umbrellas these days and sometimes there are 100 also. People keep coming even to get their 12-year-old umbrella repaired. I usually charge them Rs 20 to Rs 100.