Shopping malls and markets in New Delhi were elaborately decorated with lights, banners and streamers as merchants peddled wares ranging from electrical products to textiles to jewellery for the gift-giving holiday.
Companies including LG, Samsung and Philips launched aggressive sales campaigns offering the chance to win presents worth up to 100,000 rupees ($2,100) with the purchase of their products.
“The reason is that the monsoon rains have been good and people have more disposable incomes,” Suresh Khanna, who heads the Consumer Electronics and Television Manufacturers Association told Reuters.
“The sales are good and overall the whitegoods industry should show a growth of over 10 percent in this Diwali season,” he added.
Economist Charan Wadhwa said the spending spree was not solely confined urban areas.
“I have been to some of the smaller towns and villages and everywhere there is a bustle of activity,” he said.
India recorded 5.7% growth from April to June, the first quarter of the financial year.
“Diwali sales have picked up this week and I expect greater numbers of shoppers today (Friday) as it is Diwali eve”
Rajinder Kumar –
Economists also point at low interest rates and foreign exchange reserves of over $90 billion as the source of their confidence.
Diwali is one of the most important festivals in India, marking the Hindu new year and the end of the scorching summer.
While shoppers and commuters complained, shopkeepers were overjoyed with the crowds who kept their cash registers ringing.
“Diwali sales have picked up this week and I expect greater numbers of shoppers today (Friday) as it is Diwali eve,” said Rajinder Kumar, who owns a saree shop in New Delhi’s busy Lajpat Nagar area.
“I think there is more enthusiasm among customers this year than the last,” said Kumar, whose sales have been at least 10 percent higher.