Things get rosy for consumers

Freebies and discounts, considered mostly the monopoly of FMCG brands, are now being employed as a tool across a wide array of categories of products (food, clothing, accessories and so on) probably to offload inventory and also to convert non-peak business hours more lucrative. For example, Lakme Salons chain has come up with ‘happy hours’ from 10am to 3 pm during week days wherein a visitor will get a flat discount of 20 percent on Rs 400.

A TNN news report by Namrata Singh and Shubham Mukherjee illustrates how different companies across sectors are offering freebies and discounts to do away with slowdown blues, and revive the sentiment.

The fact that even gold, silver and petrol prices are down would bolster the low consumer sentiment. So a section of jewelers is wooing consumers even before Akshaya tritiya this month. Geetanjali jewelers, for one, is offering branded watches worth Rs 4,000 free on a purchase of Rs 15,000 on its diamond jewelry brand. Sales by garment retail chains is also quite a common sight.

Standard Chartered is offering 5 percent cash back on EMI transactions for the iPhone 4 for a limited period, there is 15 percent cash back on select Samsung Galaxy phones on a 12-month EMI program. Six-month and 12-month EMIs, said Vijay Sales’ managing partner, Nilesh Gupta, are driving sales of high-end mobile phones. Others like Sony Xperia Z are throwing in free accessories.

Discount schemes in the consumer durables and consumer electronics sector, where growth has been flat, are different, largely because it’s a long-term purchase. Onida is offering zero down payment, zero interest rate and no processing fee, free installation and exchange benefits of up to Rs 10,000. There are certain air-conditioning brands offering free installation, which is like an indirect discount of around Rs 1,500-2,000. Even on low-value items such as cookware, Sunflame is offering Rs 1,000 discount on select products.

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