In sync with the low-key festivities due to slowdown concerns and  pressure on their balance-sheets, corporate India is going rather lukewarm in Diwali gifts this year to its associates, networked partners, employees and other key personalities, slashing the budget by at least 35-40 per cent under this head, an ASSOCHAM survey has noted.
 
The reduction in gifts is more for outside connects than employees who are more or less receiving their annual gesture from their employers. However, there has been certainly a downward impact on the bonus payments with several corporates reeling under debt and cutting costs in their overall operations. Besides, jerks arising out of demonetisation and the roll out issues of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) too have affected the overall sentiment.
 
“Consequent to slowdown in the Diwali gift sale, the FMCG companies which generally bet high on festive sales in the business of chocolates, cookies, sweets etc are reporting less than normal sales. Similar is the case with consumer durable firms engaged in washing machines, refrigerators, cooking ovens, electric stoves and other such items. Even the festive sale of high-end smartphones seems to have taken a hit,” said ASSOCHAM secretary general, D.S. Rawat.
 
“The survey endorses the general low key mood of the industry and trade with the considerable trimming of the festive budget,” he said.
 
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) had conducted a telephonic survey of about 758 companies across tier I, II and III cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai in the run-up to Diwali.
 
Survey highlights
 
About 60 per cent of the total respondents across cities said they do not have any gift giving policy as such but as part of networking they do exchange gifts. “Most private companies’ representatives informed that they have gradually moved away from a fixed Diwali bonus and instead provide benefits considering employees’ individual performance for past few years and this year too hardly any change is expected on this front,” highlighted the ASSOCHAM survey.
 
Online shopping vouchers, cash rewards, gift cards, dry fruits, chocolate/bakery (cake and biscuits) items, wearable devices like fitness tracker and others are top choices as Diwali gifts for both employees and clients, said most of the company representatives.

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