Indian malls increase Christmas promotional budget

This Christmas season, India’s malls are investing more than ever before in festive promotions and decorations, in a bid to meet customer expectations and battle against online retailers.

Select Citywalk is one of the many malls investing more than ever in Christmas this year - Select Citywalk- Facebook

According to a report by ET Bureau, this year has seen India’s malls invest heavily in promotions to draw in more customers.

“Festive decorations are becoming lavish,” Mukesh Kumar, chief executive of Infiniti Mall in Mumbai, told ET Bureau, elaborating that he has organised performances by Russian, British, and Ukrainian performers, amongst others for the season.

“Four years ago, Infiniti would [just] put up a Christmas tree in the atrium and some working décor,” said Kumar.

Other malls going above and beyond this year include New Delhi’s Select Citywalk, which has erected an entire castle in its mall, and Phoenix High Street in Mumbai, which has organised ballet performances and classes for its “Nutcracker” theme.

The ET Bureau report states that, where two years ago several lakh rupees would be the most any large mall would spend on Christmas, now malls are spending up to Rs 1 crore ($150,000). This is seen as an investment to increase customer footfall.

Along with festive decorations, the malls are offering heavy discounts on many items, especially fashion brands. Even luxury malls such as the capital’s DLF Emporio are offering discounts on items over the Christmas period. These sales follow the recent Black Friday and Diwali sales and, this year, only a week or two has passed since autumn without some form of large sale event in malls.

One reason for this, given by Abhishek Bansal, executive director of Pacific Mall in West Delhi, is that "consumer expectations are growing so one has to deliver.”

Consumers have increased power in malls as they work to compete with online retail. Due to lower overheads, online retailers are able to offer large discounts on items. Malls are working to prove that they offer a unique shopping experience that online stores cannot match and one way of showing this is by hosting shopping events with décor and live performances.

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