The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that due to a great slump in the businesses and absence of festive spirit this year, the trade leaders across the country have decided not to decorate the markets this Diwali as a mark of protest against "unethical business practices of ecommerce companies".
Diwali is considered to be the biggest festival in the country and for the business community, it holds immense importance as it gives an opportunity to grab maximum sales. About 30 percent of the total value of the business in a year comes from this festive season. However, this year has been different.
With barely one week left for Diwali, commercial markets in Delhi and across the country are in the deepest slump and the traders, disappointed with sales, seem to have lost all hopes this festive season.
According to CAIT, the apex organisation of traders in the country, the main reason for such a disappointing scenario is highly surging sales in the ecommerce market, which offers huge discounts on various products.
The body alleges that predatory pricing and 'unfair business practices' have led to most customers shifting to online shopping.
Recently, in the festival sale put up by Amazon and Flipkart, both companies have sold goods worth Rs 19,000 crore in just four days.
CAIT president BC Bhartia said that the retail trade in India generates a yearly business of about Rs 45 lakh crore, out of which, about Rs 6 lakh crore worth of sales take place during Diwali season. He further said that traders hope for good business during the festive season and hence, have a huge stock of goods. However, despite the festivals, all the major retail and wholesale markets in Delhi and across the country are completely deserted.
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said that due to 'unscrupulous business practices' of online companies, there is a decline of about 60 percent in the business of mobile sector only, 35 percent in FMCG and consumer durables, 35 percent in electronics goods, 30 percent in electrical appliances, 25 percent in apparel, 20 percent in footwear, 35 percent in gift items, 25 percent in furnishing goods and 25 percent in decorative items.
He further added that there is a fall of about 15 percent in building hardware, 30 percent in kitchen equipment, 30 percent in computer and computer goods, 35 percent in grocery, 20 percent in watches, 30 percent in beauty and cosmetics, bags and 35 percent in luggage, 30 percent in fitness and sports goods, 40 percent in fashion clothing and about 30 percent in toys.
According to him, if the market goes on like this for another week, then on this festive season, only due to "unethical business model of e-commerce companies", there will be a drop of about 50 to 60 percent in the total business of traders, which is quite alarming.
Both Bhartia and Khandelwal said that already about 30 percent of the business of offline market has greatly suffered due to online business compared to last year and traders across the country fear its deep increase in near future.
There are about 7 crore small business in the country which provide employment to about 45 crore people, noted CAIT.
Both Bhartia and Khandelwal said that lack of liquidity in the market and Diwali falling in last days of the month along with other important festivals like Karva Chauth, Dhanteras, Bhaiya Dooj, Goverdhan Pooja, Vishwakarma Day etc. when the pockets are empty, will affect the businesses further.If the government does not curb online sales and does not infuse capital in the market, the situation will worsen, said CAIT.