Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The festival of Raksha Bandhan is upon us and the markets are packed with all kinds of rakhis, from simple silk threads to carefully crafted rakhis with delicate bead and sequin work. However, what underlies the hustle and bustle of Bhopal’s Rakhi market is the struggle of sellers to combat the negative impact of growing e-commerce business, rising inflation and customers’ new buying habits after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic .
Krishna Raj, owner of Raj Bangles, New Market, said: “Due to inflation, the rakhi rate has increased by 40% this year. After corona, people have developed the habit of online shopping and prefer to buy rakhis on e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart. Even though the pandemic is over, sales haven’t changed since last year.” He added, “It’s all handmade, what other flavors can we bring to attract customers?”
Many online shopping platforms offer free delivery service when you buy rakhi on their website. Additionally, the benefits of exclusive and personalized gifts lure people to avoid the rush in the markets.
“The market is definitely down this year. We bring these rakhis from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad. All of this is made in India, but nothing seems to particularly interest customers,” said Manish Srivastava, another rakhi seller at Neuer Markt. When asked if Corona still seems to be affecting customers’ purchasing power, he said: “Of course it is. People still find the normal tariffs expensive.”
Sumitra, a resident of TT Nagar, who bought rakhi by courier for her brother who lives in Kanpur, said: “Apart from increased rates, I don’t see anything new on the market. But there are still a few days left for Rakshabandhan, so let’s see.”
(Contributed by Anamika Pathak)