Every year the retail market hub of Assam, Fancy Bazar waits for the Bihu and Durga Puja to boost up their sale. But for the third year in succession, their business is down and that is mainly for the Online market.
“Almost every Assamese family buy some clothes and shoes during the Bihu, but if you see the sales in Fancy Bazar or any retail outlet across Assam in the past few days, you will see there are 30-40% fewer sales. It is not that Assamese people have not done shopping. They did, but the majority of them have gone online because of the better price, varieties and home delivery. We cannot match that” rues Manoj Sarma, a cloth merchant of Babu Bazar, Fancy Bazar.
“Especially both cloth and shoes are a top favorite in online as clothes are not damaged in transport while no shoe store can keep such a huge stock which the online store display and that too at a better price,” said Abdul Hazarika of Lakhtokia.
“Further most of the Assamese people are very much brand conscious and that is why the traditional shops are suffering. Hardly 5% of people now buy clothes and go to tailor for a shirt or trouser. You will not even get lot of tailors also. However for ladies, still tailoring is going on but for men, it has come to an end” said Manoranjan Seel, another trader of Sikh Mandir area of the Fancy Bazar.
Contrary, the food sector is growing as there is not much online threat. The restaurants are gearing up for a week-long of mega business. Guwahati has around 2500 food joints and each of them spruced up their menu and interiors to welcome the patrons.
The delivery mechanism of Swiggy and Zomato also have boosted the sales but the restaurateur Kaushik Hazarika said that during the Bihu days the food delivery operation will come down as people prefer to come out and have outside.
Almost all the restaurants and hotels have added 10-20% seating capacity as they are expecting a mega rush in the next three days. An estimated business of Rs 10-15 crores is expected in the food sector alone at Guwahati. At that rate Guwahati restaurants are going to do a business of around Rs 50- Rs 100 crores in the whole week due to the Bihu.