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Id — a marketing idea yet to arrive

Priyanka Pani , The Hindu Businessline

Mumbai, August 10, 2013

Ishaq Rawuther was very disappointed with his ‘Id’ shopping.

The malls and supermarkets, which were doling out usual offers during the month-long fasting festival as part of their regular sale period, hardly had any merchandise or product to offer that was related to the festival.

“I could not find a nice pair of pathan suit at any of the malls. Finally, I got it stitched,” said Rawuther, a resident of Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.

Ramzan, the holy fasting month of the Muslim community, has somehow failed to attract the attention of retailers and consumer goods companies.

A few retailers such as Kishore Biyani-owned Future Group, a pioneer in driving occasion- and festival-led sales, have not missed this opportunity. Some malls conduct events such as ‘qawali nights’ or ‘sufi evenings’ to attract shoppers from this community. Devendra Chawla, President, Food Bazaar, the supermarket division of Future Group, says the company has always believed in every festival and Id is no different.

But many retailers, including Shoppers Stop, refused to comment on why there were no special offers for Id.

Traditionally, the beginning of the holy month sees a jump in the sales of food items, garments, footwear, accessories, electronics and gold jewellery. But most of the offers are from unorganised retailers.

Dev Jyotula, Centre Manager at Mumbai-based Korum Mall, says, “Id falls under the regular sale period and hence it can be a reason why retailers don’t promote it as Id sales. However, it is a good idea. We have started celebrating this festival in malls from last year and it has contributed to higher sales.”

Several marketers and research firms feel that a festival is always an opportunity but retailers have limited themselves to a few occasions such as Diwali and Christmas. About 83 per cent of the population is Hindu. And Christmas leads up to New Year celebrations.

SHIFT IN STRATEGY

“Marketers go by numbers and not sentiments. However, with the new generation, this opportunity (Id) can be tapped into,” says independent marketing consultant Harish Bijoor. Citing an example from the US market, Bijoor says that retailers in that market are evolving and shifting their strategy of celebrating holidays and not religious occasions. “India should also follow the same.”

Devangshu Dutta of marketing research firm Third Eyesight says many retailers do have offers in markets with higher concentration of Muslims like Kerala, Hyderabad or Lucknow.

“Many paint India as a religious country, but actually it is a pragmatic country. It goes by numbers.”

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