Do diaries still make a good New Year gift?

Those lovable ‘Dear diary’ memories may perhaps be fast waning. Still, diary sales witness a revival every now & then, especially on the New Year eve. 2013 has been no different. The beginning of every year is quite crucial for the fraternity of diary dealers as well as stationers. How are they responding to the techno-age? An interesting news report in The Hindu by Sunitha Sekar has compiled reactions of both the industry people and the buyers to make following observations:

Though the advent of computers and mobile phones has rendered diaries and planners less relevant, some continue to maintain diaries out of a sense of nostalgia. “Business has definitely come down over the years, but the New Year brings bulk orders from corporate houses,” mentions a trader, who has been selling diaries for over two decades now. A seasonal business, diary stalls are converted into stationery shops once demand drops.

Most clients belong to the software, engineering and construction fields. Diaries in the market are available for as cheap as Rs. 10. The high-end ones, fitted with clocks, planners and calculators, may cost as much as Rs. 1,000. While some companies buy about 500 diaries, there are those that place orders for 5,000 pieces. Bulk bookings are made as early as in October, another dealer is quoted as saying. “Once orders are placed in October, we customize diaries as per the demand and deliver it by end of December, just in time for New Year gifting.”

“We have lost more than 30 per cent of our business over the years. Earlier, we used to buy three loads — each consisting around 1,500 diaries — but now we find it tough to sell just one load. In order to survive, we return to selling stationery, textbooks and slam books once diary season ends,” says a worried diary dealer. “Hardly anyone uses a diary as a daily log, today. While most gift it to their acquaintances, others use it for jotting down reminders and household budgets.”

An IT employee, for example, says she used the complimentary diary given by her office till a few years ago. “When I bought a mobile phone five years ago, I switched to setting alerts and reminders on it. That way, I did not have to bother with carrying the diary to work every day,” the buyer quipped.

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