Written by Khanak Sachdeva
At Raviwar Peth’s Bohri Ali, which is the epicentre of sorts for Diwali shoppers in the city who clog the narrow lanes, ‘Made in India’ and eco-friendly products are the new hoot this year.
Shopkeepers say a clear trend has emerged where shoppers have shown a demand for desi products. “It is obvious that people don’t like Chinese products any more. Customers ask if products are from China, and if they are, they don’t buy them,” said Govind Dayama, known as ‘Gora’, who owns the store ‘Gora Raksha Bandhan’ and has been selling lanterns, diyas and Diwali decor for the last 25 years. “Acrylic and eco-friendly lanterns are in demand and so are reflection diyas,” said his daughter Pooja Dayama.
A customer Swati Pakhare who had come to shop at the market agreed that she prefers buying Indian products. “We can support small artisans of our country in this manner,” she said. Another shopper Priyanka Khatri, who also had made up her mind to buy only desi, said all shoppers must do the same to support small cottage industries.
While customers complained of a hike in prices this year compared to the last, shopkeepers have noticed an overall decline in sales. K Jadhav, a salesman at Royal Stationers which sells lanterns and diyas, said there is a noticeable decline in sales this year, which has made profit margins plummet from 20 per cent every year to only 5 per cent this year.
“Customers bargain and we have to give in to their demands. There is barely any bulk purchasing being made,” he said. Speaking of trends in shopping, he said besides Indian products, shoppers are keen on eco-friendly products. “Artificial flowers made from clothes, for example, are very popular as they are eco-friendly and recyclable,” he said.
Govind Banjara, the owner of Ganesh Traders that sells diyas and candles, said: “This year, there was a dip in the number of shoppers as compared to previous years and hence even the sale was very low.”