China surely knows how to make its presence felt in Indian markets, and Diwali is no exception. Cashing in on Indians attraction to anything that is cheap, Chinese products as Diwali gifts have seen a surge in demand by 45%, according to a survey undertaken by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM).
Consumers are making a beeline to buy Chinese fancy lights, lampshades, Ganesha and Laxmi idols, crackers and other such various items. More than 78% of those surveyed said Chinese lights are almost 50% cheaper as compared with Indian lights and have more variety to offer.
As a result, the worst-hit are the local artisans and traders. According to DS Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM, about 72% traders said demand for earthen diyas has been dipping year after year as consumers prefer Chinese-made fancy lights.
“A Chinese string of 100 rice lights can be bought in the range of Rs40 to Rs60. Lights in the shape of pineapples, pomegranates, rice and stars among others are popular among buyers,” rued traders.
Riding on the same features of variety and affordability, Chinese crackers are also finding more and more takers this Diwali season. About 82% of wholesalers said Chinese crackers are more colourful, produce more sound and have a lot of variety and they are cheap too and score over their Indian counterparts.
However, Rawat pointed out that these products are entering the domestic market illegally, through Nepal.
“Indian traders lose about Rs1,800 crore. Chinese fireworks worth around Rs250 crore are present in the Indian market and volume could increase if necessary steps are not taken,” he said. The Indian fireworks industry employs about 2.5 lakh people.
Ready made Chinese rangolis that can be put on the floor or the wall are also available at affordable prices, points out the survey.