In 2018, a large private airline purchased a large number of PeeSafe’s toilet seat sanitizer sprays for the entire crew. It was an unconventional but thoughtful gift to give for Diwali.
A gradual shift is being witnessed in gifting culture. No longer are mithais, chocolates, dried fruit and décor items the obvious gifting options for festivals. Today, sexual wellness, personal hygiene, and even exclusive food products such as gourmet popcorns are being considered as sought after gifts.
So how did this change come about? The world is changing thanks to the Gen-Z’s. They are not afraid to speak their minds and are more up to date on various topics and trends and their choices influence people around. Gen-X is also learning to accept change and give contemporary products to their family members.
“Previously, whenever we would pitch our idea to corporations, people would ask, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Who gifts intimate products?’”, says Vikas Bagaria, founder – PeeSafe.
PeeSafe offers travel packs which contain small tubes that one can carry while travelling. These are shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, body washes and face washes. These travel packs cost around Rs.399. However, for the festive season, the cost has been reduced to just Rs.99, resulting in good demand for the product.
Categories which saw an uptake
In Gujarat, the condom sales for Domina female condoms which are a part of PeeSafe’s product portfolio is the highest. This massive uptick was witnessed just before Navratri season.
Moreover, during festivities, PeeSafe has seen the user base of their menstrual cup grow from 25 percent to 30 percent month per month. This might be due to awareness of menstrual cups being better than sanitary pads, where it provides ease while travelling.
“There has also been an uptick in the sales of our toilet seat sanitizer sprays during this festive period owing to people travelling around.” Bagaria adds.
There certainly is a shift in consumer culture and how people have started to look at gifting. A large portion of the consumer set is migrating to products and services that add long term value instead of just one-day value. This consciousness has permeated into how people think about various product portfolios. One such portfolio is pet care gifting.
Keeping this in mind, pet solutions brand Heads Up For Tails has come up with various products such as bows, collars and other accessories that remain with you for a long time, constantly adding value.
In addition, they are also focusing on natural and non-toxic products for pets and have come up with massage oils which are fantastic this time of the year. This is because with the onset of the festive season and with the cold wave just about to kick in, you want to make sure that your pets coat remains healthy.
A large portion of the consumer set is migrating to products and services that add long term value instead of just one-day value.
“We have seen acceptance and emergence of products that are natural, good for the planet and good for you.” Says Samriddh Dasgupta, chief marketing officer – Heads Up For Tails.
Lastly, an important shift that is also being noticed is a lifestyle extension shift. People are more interested in products that are extensions of their own lifestyles. Hence, if you buy a product that makes you feel proud and happy, as a human, you want a similar product line for your pets as well.
Something new in the basket
During festivals, most of the electronics, personal care, edible items get a boost, as a result of which they enjoy great sales.
But one popular edible item still makes a regular appearance in the diwali basket. The popcorn market in India is not yet developed. How many people are actually eating ready-to-eat popcorn in the country? In the case of the packaged organized popcorn market in India, the share still remains small. In 2021, it accounted for only 0.5% share of the snack market with cinemas and theatres as the major sales touch points. If one more specification in the form of healthy options gets introduced in this small category, it only limits the use case of launching the product.
“Once we start hitting good numbers in terms of ready-to-eat popcorn consumption, then the country will be ready for something specific like this. As of now, it is too early for us to venture into the vegan or keto category,” says Chirag Gupta, founder – 4700BC.
“The reason we give gifts is to signal to someone that they are important. The gift itself that I give somebody also needs to have meaning. It can’t be irrelevant.” Says Prakash Sharma, co-founder – 1001 Stories.
According to him, there are two primary ways in which one can give someone a gift. One way, is to spend a certain amount of money on it. Second way is to gift something that has some importance to them. Something that holds emotional value.
“For example, let’s say you like rock and roll and I find out that you’re a big time fan of Nirvana. Instead of giving you something generic, I could maybe gift you a copy of Kurt Cobain’s diary. This also shows that I put the time and effort to understand you as a person and consequently gift something that is relevant to you. It may not be as expensive as anything else but the way you convey value needn’t only be through money. Effort also becomes a way of conveying value correctly,” Sharma adds.
Festive offerings of brands
Vikram Mehra, managing director – Saregama India, the maker of Caravan, said in a news report that the interest shifted from typical and obvious choices such as clothes, phones, dry fruits, diyas to more thoughtful presents. Even corporate gifts have seen more inclination to organic, more eco-friendly products.
Every festival in India signifies something and extends an opportunity to brands to diversify their offerings to connect with its target audience. In this case, since Diwali is here, brands have designed unique product propositions that capture the sentiment of the festival and deliver them at sell out prices.
The reason we give gifts is to signal to someone that they are important. The gift itself that I give somebody also needs to have meaning. It can’t be irrelevant.
Pet wellness brand Heads Up For Tails has designed a ‘Gift of Joy’ box for this festive season. It’s a beautifully designed box that contains goodies inspired by Diwali. There are edible mithais in the shape of diyas and ladoos specially made for dogs.
“We have nutritionists and product designers who work as part of our team. Our nutritionist made these dog mithais which have a shelf life of 6 weeks and have zero preservatives. All natural, highly nutritious, gluten free and lactose free,” says Samriddh Dasgupta.
The box also contains a bow tie and a toy in the shape of a diya. The toy is double stitched and durable. The inside of toy is filled with non-toxic materials. All the colours used are vegetable dyes which makes it non-toxic and chemical free. At Rs.1200, Dasgupta hopes it is an exciting offering.
Furthermore, the brand closely works with multiple animal shelters and NGOs across the country. A large portion of their sales gets contributed back to this welfare community.
“This Diwali we want to support our NGO partners. We’re doing a donation drive, where we’re doing a reflective collar and have made earmuffs which block out noise that will be donated through this initiative,” adds Gupta.
Consumer brands are spending billions of dollars to make sure you keep buying stuff to give away on festive occasions.
In previous reports, Anil Viswanathan, managing director – Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam, had said that India has a very strong gifting culture and the packaged food business sees a big upswing in demand especially on occasions such as Rakhee and Diwali.
Corporate gifting has also seen a change in gifting patterns. Companies are getting creative with their Diwali gifts. Besides the regular sweets, digital gifts such as vouchers and gift cards are the most popular options. Following this are electronics, wellness options and home utilities.
Biz2Credit, an online financing platform for small businesses, has moved beyond traditional gifting options this year and how! The company has given BMW bikes to outstanding performers and iPads to emerging superstars. In addition to this, the company announced that the top performers, which is over 60 percent of their employees would get up to 40 times their performance linked incentives, other cash rewards, silver coins, etc., as a part of the Diwali gift.
Here's something to bring in the festive cheer!
Everyone, right from large companies to small groups of friends and family have been swaying away from the traditional mithais and sweets and have begun to adopt more contemporary forms of gifting. These gifts have more long term value and are in line with the modern trends. It is at all possible that traditional sweets and mithais may no longer be considered the obvious choices for festivals? Is it possible that traditional gifting may soon be replaced by new age, modern gifts?
There is one very important aspect to keep in mind here. There is an abundance of rituals and collective memories in a country like india. Of course rituals change over time and you develop new collective memories but in the near future at least mithais and sweets will not lose their relevance. Mithais signify the arrival of a festival. New Year is a holiday, Diwali is a holiday and Dussehra is a holiday. How do you distinguish between these holidays? There are different rituals performed for each holiday. For example, how do you know that New Year is actually New Year and not summer vacation? This is because there are expected actions performed that differentiate them. On New Year’s, we party with friends and family. In summer vacation, we would ideally go out of town. Hence, traditional gifts such as mithais and chocolates are parts of festive traditions and cannot be replaced overnight.
Moreover, Indians have a sweet tooth. It’s how we showcase that we care for one another. Also, festivals are a time of indulgence. It the time of year where people forget about calories and indulge in foods. Let’s say Uncle has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. As a result, he has to cut back on his eating habits. In such a case, Uncle looks forward to festivals, where in the moment, it is considered okay to indulge in that one extra mithai. Having said that, there are multiple unique ways in which we can mark a festival. Which is why contemporary gifting ideas are gaining traction. Going ahead, we will definitely see a niche consumer segment that will prefer contemporary, new age gifts. However, we are surely not in danger of a world where people will forget mithais.