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India’s Gifting Platforms, Organic Startups On The Holi Mania And The Impact Of Coronavirus

India’s Gifting Platforms, Organic Startups On The Holi Mania And The Impact Of Coronavirus

While gifting is minimal during Holi, startups say demand for personalised products for festivities is higher

Customers are also going for organic skincare products besides natural colours, say startups

Ecommerce platforms claim the demand for parties, products are lower due to coronavirus fears

The White House was lit up during Diwali, the UK Prime Minister sent out Pongal wishes to Indians in Britain, and Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated with fervour in Melbourne and parts of Europe. Every year, Indian festivals are celebrated across the world and Holi has been on top of the most favourite Indian festivals for many. Tourists across the world travel to India just to take part in this colourful festival.

This year, however, many have cancelled the travel plans and some of us within the country have also cancelled Holi celebrations because of the deadly coronavirus epidemic, which has threatened every continent in the world. However, there are some of us, who want to keep the spirits of Holi alive, the victory of good over evil, and celebrate at home or with just close family members. Here we bring a list of organic products and gifting options offered by startups for easy perusal.

How Holi Gifting Has Changed

The online market for gifting is increasing every year. People find online shopping more convenient during the festival season because of crowded shops in local markets, parking issues and lack of time due to the fast-pace life. These days self-imposed quarantines have also given way to more online shopping

Holi gifting is mostly reserved for kids, employees, friends and family, and as ecommerce platforms are accessible 24/7, it’s easier to find what you want for each member of the family with a click of a button along with customised delivery options and packaging. But here’s how platforms are setting themselves apart.

Personalisation and Packaging

Gifting experts today say that personalisation makes the gift even more special and most customers love to include their names or initials and hand-written notes. “Teenagers and young adults want “aesthetic” pictures for the ‘gram and prefer to use colour bombs, character-themed clothing like unicorn onesies and herbal gulaal which can be washed easily without any harm to their skin or the environment,” said Anannya Agrawal, founder, MangoPeople Shop.

The platform has up to 25% on Holi collection products and special loyalty discounts for repeat customers.

According to gifting startups, millennials also don’t like to spend much on sweets as compared to Baby Boomers for gifting as they seek value for money and they look out for gifts which are thoughtful conveying love, respect, appreciation and playfulness. Additionally, as these boxes are eco-friendly with designer packaging, it makes a beautiful gift for corporates, friends, family, and loved ones.

Chocolates Over Handmade Treats

The fear of coronavirus has also led to shoppers moving over from hand-made sweets to packaged chocolates and other treats this year. “We offer the most scrumptious collection of Holi special gifts like chocolates ranging from Ferrero Rocher, Mango Dragees, Dairymilk Chocolates, Bournville, all of which are either arranged in a tempting bouquet, tray, basket or jar to get your up your sweet cravings a notch higher,” said Giftcart.

Ferns and Petals offers chocolate gift boxes ranging from INR 1000 to INR 1500. Indian Food startup Samosa Singh also has a unique gifting option called The CHOCOSSA, which can be ordered through Amazon, BigBasket.

“We have sugar-free camel milk chocolates for Holi gifting. In fact, we also have curated gift packs of INR 510, INR 1100, and INR 2100 for assorted products which will include goat milk soaps, camel milk soaps and sugar-free camel milk chocolates, chocolates being the most in-demand,” said Hitesh Rathi, founder of health food brand Aadvik Foods.

Organic Colours And More

As millennials are becoming more conscious about their health and surroundings, the use of chemically-treated colours has become almost negligible.

“Millennials are well-read and educated about the products and want to shop from ethical brands with decent testimonials or product reviews. The influence of social media stars, celebrities and bloggers also play a major role in the buying-decision of millennials,” said Harsh Vardhan Gupta, founder, MangoPeople Shop.

The startup offers a range of organic products like sets of gulaal or organic colours, handmade herbal holi colour, made from ecofriendly, edible maize starch, tesu flowers, rose, marigold, sandalwood, red sandalwood, food colours.

A Gifting And Shopping Guide For Holi From Organic And Ecomm Startups

Millennials are also rapidly turning very conscious of harm caused by chemical-based colours and other Holi products.

“Millennials choose smartly packaged product along with environment-friendly and toxin-free as qualifying features. It is important to make the right choice regarding purity in the quality of products,” said Vishal Kaushik, cofounder and MD, Upakarma Ayurveda. The organic startup offers products that are lab tested and 100% natural.

On Amazon India, herbal gulaal starts at INR 120 and goes up to INR 599 for a set of six.

“We have seen a growth of 300% with orders going up everyday as most individuals are ordering up to 25 sets of herbal gulaal due to competitive pricing, next-day delivery and extreme convenience,” said Agrawal.

The organic Holi colour boxes are some of the most popular products bought online. “Vegetal Lustrous Natural Holi Colours”, “Pidilite Rangeela Holi Ke Rang”, “Vedant Non-Toxic Holi Herbal Gulal” are some of the best-sellers on Amazon and Flipkart this year.

Organic Skin-care

Organic skin-care products are also on high demand during this time of the year. For instance, Upakarma Ayurveda offers Badam Rogan, a skincare product, which is used as a pre-Holi skin-care product. There is a high demand for these two items in the Holi gifting segment. Startups offering organic lip balm, coconut oil and hair-care products also see a hike in demand during Holi.

FMCG startup Aadvik Foods will be offering a 15% discount on its website and other ecommerce platforms. It also offers goat milk soaps for the Holi season costing INR 150. “Holi season is different from all other gifting seasons. During Holi, people look mostly for healthy alternatives for consumption and healthy for their skin too. Being a festival of colour, people look for new and vibrant products which are natural,” added Rathi.

With the growing awareness levels among consumers, the demand for organic products has risen considerably over the past few years. Organic kesar or saffron, available for a special discounted price on Holi is used in various ways to celebrate the festival. For instance, IndiaMART offers around seven organic saffron brands for businesses to order and use. Saffron is also an integral ingredient in Holi-special delicacies and drinks such as gujiya and thandai.

Modern Holi Toys

Waterproof phone pouches, shoe covers and backpack water guns  this is what kids, young adults as well as more practical adults are getting these days. “These are the best-sellers on our platform,” said Yatin Hans, cofounder, Bigsmall, which is running a Holi sale till March 12

The choice of pichkaris or water pistons has also changed over the years as nobody wants to pump in water each time and the new backpack water guns with pop culture branding are the kids’ favourites these days. And even parents are thankful that they don’t have to refill water every time.

Ecommerce platforms like Firstcry offer themed boxes and water guns inspired by cute animals. Peppa Pig water pichkari, Fiddlerz Holi water gun are some of the bestsellers currently on the platform.

Party Gifts

As we move forward, we are thriving for more aesthetic appeal in all aspects of celebrations. Millennials and Generation Z audience are more thoughtful about party themes, with all the essentials to match, be it cups or décor items, and this applies to Holi as well.

Products like ecofriendly party cups, quirky sunglasses, colourful steel water bottles are also quite the rage. “According to me, the market for Holi gifting is not as huge as compared to other festivals, such as Diwali. As Holi is not centred on gifting, customers mainly buy products for themselves, mostly quirky and colourful party supplies,” added Hans.

Pre & Post-Holi Care

Another important festive trend during this season is pre and post-Holi skincare for both men and women. “We have received a 15% hike in bookings specifically on the occasion of Holi for post-Holi skincare treatments like facials, manicures and pedicures.We have exciting offers and discounts for the festival of Holi for post-Holi skin care treatment at home across all 20 cities. Anyone can pick an appointment as per their convenience and pamper themselves to relieve all the post-festive stress,” said Mayank Arya, cofounder, YesMadam, a wellness service platform.

The platform has offers starting at INR 1232 for the entire package. “If you are looking at gifting options also, there is nothing better than gifting beauty and wellness experience at your own comfort,” Arya added.

How Has Coronavirus Impacted Holi Celebrations?

With the coronavirus infection spreading fast and 40 individuals in India testing positive for Covid-19, the country is in a state of panic. Most students who are away from their hometowns are scared to travel through airports and stations, and this can have an impact on Holi sales as families are also cancelling their travel plans.

“International and local deliveries for Holi hampers are also getting delayed because of long security procedures and checking at the hubs. Due to shortage of masks and sanitisers, most people do not want to risk inhaling any kind of colour to keep away from shortage of breath, health issues and skin concerns,” said MangoPeopleShop’s Anannya Agrawal.

A Gifting And Shopping Guide For Holi From Organic And Ecomm Startups

Additionally, changing weather conditions can cause viral flu, infections or fever and kids are being recommended not to play with Holi colours and stay away from outside food and handmade sweets. Holi celebrations will be affected because of the panic and people might want to refrain from playing with normal water also for long hours as it can affect the health of young kids and children.

“A lot fewer people are celebrating Holi. Also, there are fewer public events or gatherings. Hence, there is less demand for party supplies,” said bigsmall’s Hans.

However, startups are doing their bit while delivering the products and services and hoping for a better Holi next year. “We are very concerned about the situation and we are sensitively approaching this, all our beauticians have been taking precautionary measures, such as wearing masks and using hand sanitizers before all the individual sessions,” said YesMadam’s Arya.