The festive spirit is palpable as Diwali, the festival of lights, approaches. Houses are re-painted, flowers, traditional lights – diyas – and sparkling lights used to adorn them, and one can almost smell the aroma of sweets and other goodies as people prepare to celebrate Diwali.
The joy and the hustle and bustle are everywhere. Whether its metropolitan cities, tier 2,3 or 4 cities, or rural India, Diwali celebrations are full of zeal and sparkle.
A festival not only has a huge impact on the social and cultural environment of a country, it also impacts the economy. All over the world, consumer sentiment and religious beliefs, often underlying festivals, play an important role in the economic activities of buying and selling of goods and services.
Diwali, and its preceding weeks, are traditionally a period of consumption and investment in India. Demand and sales during this period are often seen as a barometer of the vitality of business, and the Indian economy.
Diwali especially benefits several sectors and businesses, and for many, marks the beginning of a financial year.
Around this time of the year, sales of textiles, automobiles, consumer durables, electronic goods, jewelry, real estate and food picks up. The tourism sector also sees growth since holidaying to different destinations is common during the break around Diwali.
Even the unorganized sector benefits during Diwali. Artisans, who mostly reside in rural areas, see significant growth in their sales with greater employment as a cascading effect. The millennials and youth of New India are now using and promoting mostly products made in India, especially during festivals, which directly impacts the unorganized sector. The artisan industry is the second largest employer in developing nations after agriculture and employs women in large numbers. Their earnings go up during Diwali festival, changing their economic stature.
While shops see brisk sales, e-commerce also booms as the platforms have expanded their reach and now cover many smaller towns and cities. The youth of New India enthusiastically increase online sales as e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart give heavy discounts this season to boost sales.
According to recent estimates, the e-commerce market may see gross business worth USD 32 billion in 2019, which is 60% higher than that of the previous year.
Even the stock market does well as people consider it auspicious to buy shares during Diwali.
The economic importance of Diwali lies in the fact that consumers tend to spend more during this period, with several upgrading their products. This expected consumption boom leads to an increase in industrial activity and investments, while also increasing employment across the nation.
Promoting a Green Diwali
There is a growing awareness about the impact of Diwali on the environment and many people buy earthen lamps and are reducing the number of firecrackers burst during the festival. In many parts of the country, Diwali is becoming more a festival of lights now rather than a festival of firecrackers.
This year the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched eco-friendly, green firecrackers. Developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and manufactured by licensee manufacturers, these sparklers and other crackers will help people celebrate Diwali the traditional way, with firecrackers, while reducing pollution. This comes as welcome news as these are not only environment friendly but will also help retain the livelihood of so many benefitting from the manufacture and sale of fireworks.
So, let’s light up our homes, hang Diwali decorations and send out Diwali gifts with the aim to make it a bright, happy and inclusive Diwali for all.