Ragini and Sajeda, friends from college, plan to meet around Dussehra to do the Garba together after a gap of four years. “I’ll buy you a multicoloured ghagracholi for the dancing,” Sajeda said over the free WhatsApp line. “What’s the point of dressing up if we can’t go out…and we’re not even sure there will be celebrations this time,” her friend said sceptically. “The whole point is buying for each other! Let the spirits soar a bit after Covid-19,” Sajeda persisted. Experts call this sort of buying ‘retail therapy’—exactly the mood-lifting mantra thousands of producers and retailers across India are hoping consumers would chant this festival season. “There’s a pentup demand caused by Covid fatigue. There’s also a strong expectation of festival discounts, which will trigger a lot of buying,” says Sanket Kapoor, Managing Partner, Flexi Capital LLP, a New Delhi-based private boutique wealth firm.
For those in the relatively richer brackets, the will to splurge during festivals may also be spurred by the realisation that they ended up saving a lot of money on liquor, restaurant bills and petrol during the lockdown. So there’s actually a rebound effect waiting to be unleashed. The feelgood mood generated by festival lights, aided a bit by IPL, might just open the sluice-gates for the dammed-up waters.
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