Dimapur, December 22: There is little cheer for traders in Dimapur this Christmas with sales going down considerably compared to previous years despite all positive expectations with a new Government at the helm.
While the spirits, on all accounts, are at an all time high with Christmas day just round the corner, legitimate trade and commerce appears to have taken a big hit due to the prevailing situation in the State, which is not just necessarily confined to law and order scenario.
Reportedly the main culprit for the decline in commercial activity in the business hub of the State is the deplorable road condition across Nagaland that had deterred festive shoppers from taking the onerous trip to Dimapur for festive shopping, even as the precarious law and order situation coupled with bandhs not just in Dimapur but neighbouring Karbi Anglong playing a big part the dissuading shoppers from coming to Dimapur.
Another big player in the decline of trade in Dimapur, not just this Christmas but all through the year in 2018, was the entry of big shopping centers (malls) as well as the craze for online shopping with doorstep delivery service, said traders in Dimapur.
Talking to Nagaland Page, an employee of a shoe wholesaler in Hong Kong Market, who did not want to be named, said sales were low this festive season compared to the demand for shoes last year during Christmas. He admitted that while average sales now are somewhat higher than earlier this year, it is “very less as compared to sales last Christmas.”
The employee said after the rains on December 17, shoppers had become scarce, while blaming road conditions for the same. He was hopeful that in the last two days before Christmas people would come out more in numbers and business will thrive.
He also revealed that majority of sales that happen in the shop where he works are orders to other parts of the State and not Dimapur.
The reasons for diminishing sales in the popular markets of Dimapur is also attributed to the emergence of many new big shopping centers in the city like Vishal Mega Mart, Reliance Trends, Big Bazaar, S3, Viraat Bazaar, etc. in the last few years which had lured a large number of customers by providing them huge discounts, wide range of options, comfortable shopping spaces, besides being one stop destinations for all household needs. This is more relevant because of the lack of parking space in the city.
Many also prefer these places to shop because it eliminates the need to being a good bargainer. Most shops in Dimapur have no fixed price for any goods with pricing left totally at the discretion of the traders, thereby making most shoppers apprehensive that they are being cheated out of a bargain.
Another new trend that has taken away most customers from the markets is online shopping. In recent years, online shopping has picked up tremendously amongst the youngsters in the State, especially in Dimapur, as almost all the big e-commerce sites are now delivering their products to the city without much hustle and Dimapurians are no longer uncomfortable when it comes to online shopping.
An employee of one of the branches of Myntra Logistics told Nagaland Page that people of Dimapur are buying more products online as Christmas is nearing. She said that till November this year, her branch was handling about 300 to 400 incoming packets from Myntra, Snapdeal and Uddan per day but now the branch is receiving about 500 to 700 packets daily and she is expecting that soon after Christmas the products would increase manifold as the ecommerce companies are going to offer Christmas discounts during 23, 24 and 25 December and even during the New Year.
This was only one branch of a courier company and Dimapur alone has tens of such companies and hundreds of branches and that is a huge customer base.
However, still there is a large number of people who prefer shopping the old school way and the prospects of the traditional shop owners in the city is far away from bleak, at least for now. The need is for the traders to gauge the mood of shoppers, ascertain the reason behind the customers’ distrust and take corrective measures to gain the confidence of consumers before it is too late. (Page News Service)