According to an ASSOCHAM survey, Indians will be celebrating a “Chinese” Diwali next week.
The survey says Indians are making a beeline for Chinese products, leading to demand for Chinese Diwali items such as fancy lights, lampshades, Ganesha and Lakshmi idols, rangolis, crackers, etc., going up by over 45 per cent compared to last year.
About 76 per cent of the wholesale dealers of gift items said that cheap Chinese material “sells like hot cakes”, has “caught the imagination of middle class shoppers” and that the “poor can afford to buy them”, according to the survey undertaken by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India-Social Development Foundation (ASSOCHAM-ASDF)
Over 78 per cent of the customers said that Chinese lights are almost 50 per cent cheaper compared to Indian lights, offer variety, and save nearly 35 per cent of the Diwali budget. “A Chinese string of 100 tiny bulbs can be bought in the range of Rs 40 to Rs 60. Lights in the shape of pineapples, pomegranates, etc., are popular among buyers,” the survey quoted traders in Sadar Bazaar, Delhi, as saying.
Nearly 72 per cent of the traders also said that the demand for earthen lamps (diyas) has been declining year after year and shifting towards fancy and designer diyas. Nearly 82 per cent of wholesale dealers also said that Chinese crackers score over Indian counterparts as they are more colourful, produce more sound and offer variety, apart from being cheap.
Similarly, China-made idols of Hindu deities such as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganesh are lightweight and equipped with decorative items and fancy lights, instantly catching the attention of the buyer, added majority of the retailers. Readymade Chinese rangolis that can be displayed on the floor or on walls are also available at affordable prices, pointed out the survey.
However, “the rush for Chinese goods is affecting local artisans, who are facing stiff competition to sell their products”, said ASSOCHAM secretary general D S Rawat while releasing the survey. “The Indian fireworks industry employs around 2.5 lakh people and provides an additional 5 lakh indirect jobs,” he said.
He added that Chinese fireworks are entering India illegally through Nepal, and eating into the domestic market of Rs 1,800 crore. Currently, Chinese fireworks worth around Rs 250 crore are circulating in the Indian market and the volume could increase if necessary steps are not taken, he said.