‘Vocal for local’ gives Diwali a new sparkle

NEW DELHI: Major brands and ecommerce platforms are promoting the ‘vocal for localethos even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for supporting local entrepreneurs on the festive occasion.

“Indeed, let’s make this Diwali about the hard work of 140 crore Indians,” Modi posted on microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter). “It is due to the creativity and relentless spirit of entrepreneurs that we can be #VocalForLocal and further India’s progress. May this festival herald an Aatmanirbhar Bharat!”

Ecommerce majors Flipkart and Amazon both gave prominence to small and medium entrepreneurs and artisans prominence during their festive sales.

For its flagship ‘Big Billion Days’ sale, Walmart-owned Flipkart included over 1.4 million sellers, including Flipkart Samarth sellers like artisans, weavers, women, and self-help groups (SHGs).

Amit Nanda, director-selling partner services, at Amazon India said sellers who are part of the platform’s local shops programme launched over two million new products during its Great Indian Festival Sale 2023. Small and medium businesses, startups, artisans and women entrepreneurs offered the widest range of products with 6,500 sellers seeing a 5x spike over 2022, he told ET.

Nanda said Amazon fully aligns with Modi’s call to promote local entrepreneurship. “We recognise, respect and celebrate the small businesses and local sellers for their grit, conviction and perseverance to succeed,” he said.

Modi’s ‘vocal for local’ call came on Dhanteras, a day when purchasing items made of gold, silver and brass is considered auspicious, and doing so is perceived to usher in prosperity and success in people’s lives.

Amazon India launched a ‘Dhanteras Store’, curating products like gold and silver coins, festive jewellery, pooja items, etc. Homegrown brands like Malabar Gold and Diamonds, PC Chandra, Zeya by Kundan, and PN Gadgil were among the brands available.

Ecommerce platform Meesho told ET that this festive season it onboarded 200,000 new sellers, championing the spirit of ‘vocal for local’.

The company said more than 40% of its 1.5 million sellers and nearly 80% of its orders originate in tier 2+ regions, adding that, “Meesho is embracing the diversity of our nation and empowering small-scale entrepreneurs across the country.”

“The momentum generated by this initiative (vocal for local) has significantly influenced consumer preferences towards made-in-India products,” said Vinod Kumar, president of India Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Forum. Emphasising the importance of supporting local businesses for a stronger MSME sector, he said, “The harmonious blend of ‘vocal for local’ and ecommerce is set to make this festive period exceptionally lucrative for our MSMEs.”

Kumar expects e-tail to hit ?90,000 crore this festive season.

British multinational confectionery major Cadbury has launched the ‘ghar ki dukan’ campaign for Cadbury Celebrations to promote local sellers.

The pan-India campaign puts the spotlight on thousands of small business owners, giving them the visibility they need to have a bumper Diwali, the company said in a press release. The idea is to channel prosperity towards small local businesses selling seasonal items such as hand painted diyas, kandli, homemade snacks, desserts, candles and jewellery.

“Vocal for local has certainly raised awareness of urban buyers about products produced by artisans and the need to support them not only from a humanitarian angle but from the point of view of the economy,” said Anil Bhardwaj, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME). “When millions have more money in their hand, the aggregate numbers or GDP also bounce upwards,” he added.

The younger population is also actively looking for homegrown, sustainable and green products.

According to Rahul Gope, cofounder and chief executive of collaborative commerce platform Oyela, the younger demographic makes up 80% of buyers on their platform. “This statistic suggests a distinct preference among the younger demographic for locally made products,” he said.

“Products labelled as ‘handmade’ or ‘handcrafted by local artisans’ consistently outperform mass-produced alternatives, experiencing a 25% higher conversion rate on our platform,” Gope said.

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