Business Today

For a few rupees less

As the festive season kicks off, it’s time to go discount shopping.

Anusha Subramanian        Print Edition: Nov 18, 2007

It is the festive season — the time to loosen your purse strings. There are plenty of discounts available as both manufacturers and retailers reduce their floor price by a big margin.

All products, whether the coveted high-end lifestyle stuff or the medium-end essential white goods, are going at discounts ranging from 7 to 25 per cent. And for festive buyers looking for a sweet bargain, there has never been a better time to go shopping.

The festive discounts season starts from October and runs till the first week of December. But over these months, retailers say that their sales perk up by around 35 to 40 per cent more than the off season because of the increase in festive shoppers.

What’s more, retailers reckon there are an increasing number of youngsters who want their own personal products like camcorders and music players. Besides, with the increase in the number of products, there’s more for you to choose from.

The rising discounts

Some dealers offer discounts throughout the year, but during the festive season due to the increased volumes, these get bigger. As the volumes of retailers increase, they pass on more of their margins to the customer. Says Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director, Vijay Sales: “Consumers wait for the festive season to avail of some of the best offers. We have different schemes on different products running every week.”

Increasingly, buyers are seeking higher-end products and are not hesitating to spend some more for the best products, say retailers. Some of the large selling products this season are the liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions and laptops. As there are a wide range of products and a large number of variants, the discounts on each of the different products vary. According to Gupta, the discounts on products range from 10 to 15 per cent across categories.

Combination packages

Retailers are adding their own special discount packages that include free gifts where you can get a microwave or even a holiday package. Croma, the national chain of electronics and consumer durables mega stores, has launched an electrifying non-stop gifts festival offer.

The offer that is running across all the Croma stores in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad, is on till the end of the year. With over 6,000 products to choose from, the prizes on offer are LCDs, laptops, cameras and many more electronic gadgets.

DISCOUNTS ARE HOT, BUT WHERE TO LOOK?

Hot selling electronic products are largely LCDs and laptops
Discounts on high-end products are lower at less than 10 per cent
The best discounts are available on televisions, cameras/camcorders and music systems
There are cash-back and EMI facilities on select credit cards
The discounts vary as manufacturers introduce new promotions campaigns

Ajit Joshi, CEO and MD, Infiniti Retail that launched Croma, says: “We have announced special offers to provide great deals for our discerning customers and have negotiated knock-out deals across our entire product portfolio. These exceptional offers are a gesture from our side, for our valuable customers.”

Besides, there are combination offers as well for those looking to buy a bunch of products together. Videocon has come up with ‘Diwali Dhamaka’ offer—a combination of best price, attractive, assured gifts, an extended warranty and bumper prize.

Tata Sky, the DTH operator, has a Diwali offer for consumers for television buyers. If you buy a 29 inch TV (any brand) and along with it you purchase the digicomp (Tata Sky’s set top box), you will get 29 per cent off on the digicomp—the discount varies according to the size of the television.

In New Delhi, there’s a 10-25 per cent discount on different range of items—laptops, refrigerators, LCDs, DVD players, camcorders — the companies are targeting their customers with. On their part, retailers of Sony products in Delhi are giving more than 18 per cent discount on its range of laptops. On the other hand, Panasonic dealers have slashed the prices of camcorders by 25-30 per cent.

In Kolkata, festival discounts range from 7 to 8 per cent. Says Bhaskar Bhattacharjee, spokesperson, Great Eastern Technocity, a leading chain of stores for electronic products, Kolkata: “Festival discounts on products range between 7 and 8 per cent. During Dhanteras, these go up to 10-15 per cent, and these are all dealers’ discount. Companies also offer lots of freebies with their products and various attractive schemes.” The trend of giving spot gifts this festive season has caught up with retailers and manufacturers.

For instance, Hitachi has come up with a Take 2 scheme in Kolkata—a customer who buys any Hitachi top-end product wins a scratch card for other Hitachi products. During this festive season, discounts are available in the region of 10-15 per cent, which includes spot gifts.

The schemes for spot gifts coincide with the element of luck that one could test during the Diwali season and these could be through scratch cards or at touch screens kept by a few outlets, like TMC, a leading electronics and consumer durables chain in Hyderabad. The idea is to let shoppers try their luck and may be end up with things like gold necklaces, (10 gram gold chains). But what’s increasingly popular are dinner sets or a lemon juice set (six glasses and a jug).

Pay and save too

Buyers not only get discounts on products, but lately, have begun to save on payments made through credit or debit cards. Payments through cards have increased by at least 10 per cent say store managers, thanks to the aggressive marketing techniques by banks, which are giving out discounts like cash back offers and special discounts.

For instance, there are zero per cent schemes on certain credit cards that you can use. However, make sure that you also get your regular discounts. Banks are also offering EMI cards where the product payment is converted into monthly installments.

At Croma, you can get a 5 per cent discount on products if you purchase through an ICICI Bank credit or debit card. So go right ahead and begin to spurge.

Additional reporting by E. Kumar Sharma, Ritwik Mukherjee, Manu Kaushik and K. R. Balasubramanyam

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