Crawford Market was at the centre of many exciting activities a day before Diwali on Tuesday.
Though shoppers were seen revelling in the festive spirit, vendors and owners of electrical lights and sweet shops complained that the business has been rather slow this Diwali compared to last year.
“Last year, we had sold 100 pieces of Diwali lights each day through the festive season. However, this year we have barely managed to sell 25 pieces a day,” said Deepak Narang, a vendor.
“Traditionally, people start shopping for Diwali decorations just after Navratri. However, over the past few years, people start shopping for Diwali decorations only a few days before the festival,” said Narang.
Rajesh Shah, the owner of Lite Source, an electrical shop that also sells a variety of Diwali lights, voiced similar sentiments.
“We have experienced 40% decrease in sales of Diwali lights as compared to last year. With more shops and vendors selling a wide variety of lights, the completion is stiff. Moreover, people are not willing to spend a lot of money on fancy lights,” said Shah.
Popular sweets shops in south Mumbai said they are struggling to meet up with their seasonal sales targets.
“Buying sweets online has been a trend for the past few years. Gone are the days when people would excitedly wait in queues at sweet shops to buy their favourite sweets on Diwali,” said Umaima Chitalwala, director of N. Rookmanji’s Mithaiwala Pvt. Ltd, a sweet shop that was established in 1951.
Fakhruddin Bandukwalla, partner, Royal Sweets, a 105-year-old sweets shop, said that the business picked up late this festive season.
“This year people started shopping for sweets very late. But, one day before Diwali,
we are seeing a steady increase in our sales,” said Bandukwalla, adding, “The most popular sweets this year are milk-free, dry fruits-based items that have a shelf life of one month.”.