The pandemic Covid-19 has created a global panic. The existing market was going through a slowdown with companies struggling to boost sales and demand, the global outbreak of the virus has added fuel to the fire. Experts suggest that the coronavirus will have a more severe impact on the world than the 2008 recession.
With majority of businesses getting affected, can this pandemic also infect the Corporate Gifting Industry?
Since the outbreak of the virus in China, Wuhan in December 2019, the trade exports were stopped in January 2020. Many Indian corporate gifting, as well as product-based industries, small and mid-size businesses were directly dependent on the Chinese market for raw and finished goods.
India’s top ten imports from China comprise 79% of the overall imports from China. The majority of the share is held by Electrical equipment (HS-85) at 34.5%, followed by Mechanical appliances (17.7%) and Organic Chemicals (9.2%) among others.
Reviving Chinese market
Chinese businesses are striving hard to go back to normal. There have been companies that were even functional during the peak epidemic crises. Currently, they are planning to open and restore many more factory operations.
Data compiled by China’s internet giant Baidu Inc(BIDU.O) shows that Guangdong province, an economic and export powerhouse in the south, and Zhejiang province, a major manufacturing hub for textile and machines in the east, are seeing significantly more return of migrant workers since last week. At the current daily travel flow rate of more than 14 million people, about 192 million people are likely to return to cities where they work, beating a government projection of 120 million.
“Guangdong is prioritizing production resumption at information technology, automobile, petrochemicals and household appliances firms… especially Huawei, ZTE Mideaand GAC Group,” said a senior Guangdong official in a statement.
The Indian Corporate Gifting Sector
How will the booming 12000 crores corporate gifting sector respond to the crisis?
The answer to this question can be analysed by understanding how the market responded during the earlier recession and how relevant was corporate gifting sector in those days.
Going back to the economic recession in the early 1990’s which saw a dramatic reduction in corporate gift-giving activities, however, by the mid-1990’s the sector recovered and had created a firmer niche within the marketing sphere, and since then corporate gifts and incentives have continued to grow exponentially.
A report published in November 2008, by Economics Times stated that during the recession period,” the corporate gifting market had fallen nearly 30% as stated by the shopkeepers and traders”.Later the sector revived soon exponentially.
Amidst the similar patterns, there is a difference between the 2020 pandemic and slowdown combined with the one in 1990 and 2008– A stronger significance of corporate gifts among clients and customers.
“During the recession, Corporate Gifts work as a kind of business investment.”
Today, corporate gifting has more significance than ever in the new age business circle. With new companies adopting various policies to build strong public relations with their clients and customers, Corporate gifts have become one of the most reliable tools to enhance corporate image and create goodwill.
In such times, when businesses attempt to revive their business through effective sales, marketing and public relationship strategy, corporate gifting used in coordination with other tools in the marketing communication mix can help in easing the initial communication and attain the objective of adding value to the current and future service offering, maintain a good relationship with both customers, employees and stakeholders.
With well-defined objectives, companies can ensure that the gifts are correctly targeted, creative and ethically accountable.
Experts suggest that “Corporate gifting during the recession is indeed an opportunity to build a more organic relationship with clients and customers.”
And it would not be unrealistic to predict that post the lock down when companies and sectors would be on a route to revive their processes, the corporate gifting market may see a positive revival and may prove as a vaccine to severely impacted industries infected by a global virus!