Diwali and Dhanteras are celebrated across India. Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, is worshipped on Dhanteras. The Sanskrit word 'dhan' refers to wealth and 'teras' is the thirteenth day of the Krishna Paksha in the Ashwin month of the Hindu calendar. It is widely believed that buying metal items during Dhanteras is auspicious. According to Hindu mythology, King Hima's daughter-in-law saved his son from Yamraj, the God of Death, by placing a heap of gold jewellery, silver coins, and diyas in front of their room. The jewellery and coins distracted Yamraj and the life of King Hima’s son was spared. This mythology is informs the present practice of procuring metal jewellery and utensils during Dhanteras. Thus, Indian jewellery and utensils markets experience a boom during this period.
The demand that is generated during Dhanteras translates well for the steel and aluminium utensils markets. Retail operators come up with various attractive offers to woo buyers. The ‘buy one, get one free’ offer and gift hampers sweeten the deal. However, according to market sources, the sale of utensils during Dhanteras is plateauing. Many retailers with whom BE interacted, attributed this to a shift in demand in favour of white goods. The automobile market also experiences heightened demand during this period. According to market sources, the sale of copper and brass items is also experiencing slack demand due to rising prices. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) negatively impacted the utensils market.
Reasons for drop in utensils sales
White goods come with attractive offers and discounts. Additionally, the option of availing Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) makes it easier for consumers to buy such products compared to utensils. According to a management staff of the Kolkata-based electronics retailer, Capital Electronics, “During Dhanteras, electronics brands come with unique offers of low-cost EMIs on their products. This keeps the sale up.”
Secondly, the market has shifted their utensils preferences towards high-fibre materials. The demand for steel or aluminium utensils is dwindling. People are mostly buying utensils ritualistically and that has weakened the demand for the metal utensils market. Additionally, the middle class, who invested heavily in procuring metal utensils, is increasingly looking to invest on luxury or utility items and that is a major cause for the dip in demand of metal utensils.