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Glowing Prosperity: Anticipating a Surge in Diwali Spending Across the United States

"As Diwali Gains Prominence, US Businesses Gear Up for Soaring Festival Spending"

With Diwali steadily making its way into mainstream consciousness, businesses in the United States are gearing up to tap into the holiday spending fervor of celebrants. Traditionally, holiday spending plays a pivotal role in Q4 revenue for many businesses, encompassing festivities like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Now, as Diwali gains national recognition, American merchants are increasingly recognizing its commercial potential.

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, holds profound cultural significance, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and wisdom over ignorance. Celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, Diwali takes place every year in October or November, marking a time of vibrant private and public celebrations. The festival's profile is on the rise in the US, with President Joe Biden hosting the largest-ever Diwali celebration at the White House in 2022. Additionally, states like Pennsylvania are officially recognizing Diwali as a state holiday, and in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams declared it a school holiday in the public school system, the largest in the country.

According to Soni Satpathy-Singh, a New York-based entrepreneur, Diwali is transitioning from a niche celebration to an integral part of the national holiday lexicon. As the festival gains momentum, consumers are expected to spend on gifts, party food, festive decor, and floral arrangements. Nirmalya Kumar, a professor of marketing at Singapore Management University, equates Diwali's consumption patterns to that of Christmas for South Asians, involving the purchase of new clothes, items, and home embellishments.

Major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Costco are adapting to this trend, stocking Diwali-specific goods, including decorative products, food items, and gift boxes. Greeting card aisles are now adorned with Diwali-themed cards alongside traditional Christmas ones. As Diwali becomes increasingly woven into the fabric of American festivities, businesses are eagerly anticipating a surge in spending, recognizing the festival's growing significance and the diverse consumer base it attracts.

"Diwali's Allure Extends Beyond Borders: From TJ Maxx Aisles to International Markets"

The resonance of Diwali has transcended cultural boundaries, making its presence felt in unexpected corners, including the aisles of local retailers. Soni Satpathy-Singh expresses her surprise at finding a dedicated section for Diwali decor at her local TJ Maxx store, nestled between Halloween and Thanksgiving items. The array of brass and painted clay diyas, embellished candles, mirror-work table runners, lanterns, acrylic rangolis, and Hindu deity idols showcased a cultural celebration interwoven with mainstream American festivities.

While Diwali has long been a major revenue opportunity in India, its commercial potential is gaining traction internationally. Approximately 70% of Indians are reportedly ready to spend more on Diwali this year, with significant allocations for new clothes, gold and jewelry, Diwali food items, and gifts for both family and friends. US retailers, attuned to these trends, are eyeing the spending power of Indian- and South Asian-American consumers, especially as the population of Indian-Americans has surged by over 50% between 2010 and 2020.

The Pinterest-GWI global research study, conducted in July, revealed a 60% year-over-year increase in searches for "Diwali celebration," underscoring a growing interest beyond traditional celebrants. Nirmalya Kumar notes that many aspects of Diwali, from ornate displays to firecrackers, appeal to a broader audience, extending the festival's allure beyond South Asian communities.

For Satpathy-Singh, catering requests for Diwali parties this year came not only from South Asian Americans but also from non-South Asian Americans and companies. The availability of Diwali-related items in the US market, including cards, food, and decor, has broadened the festival's reach. Online florist Flowerbx attests to this trend, with Diwali-related purchases accounting for up to 30% of sales during the holiday week.

As Diwali weaves its way into the fabric of global celebrations, its growing popularity and commercial appeal present a unique opportunity for businesses to tap into the multicultural landscape, creating a bridge between diverse traditions and mainstream consumer markets.

"As Diwali Lights Up Retail, Specialty Stores Illuminate New Avenues"

As the glow of Diwali spreads beyond traditional celebrations, major retailers are not the only beneficiaries of this cultural phenomenon. Specialty stores and brands are also tapping into the commercial potential of the festival, contributing to its growth as an American holiday. Patel Brothers, a well-established Indian grocery marketplace chain with 51 stores across the US, has been offering Diwali-related goods for 49 years. Initially focused on food items, the company has expanded its range to include accessories such as diya lamps, trinkets, and party supplies. This year, Patel Brothers introduced a line of patterned paper plates and cups, reflecting the evolving landscape of Diwali as a celebrated occasion in the United States.

Swetal Patel, a partner at Patel Brothers, notes the changing dynamics, saying, "When you have a football party, you'll have paper plates that have a football theme or whatever. This is the first time we've brought in stuff like this." The availability of such merchandise reflects the broader appeal of Diwali, transforming it from a niche celebration into an American holiday embraced by diverse communities.

The rise of Diwali's commercial significance in the US is attributed, in part, to the recent e-commerce boom, enabling specialized brands to deliver a range of Diwali offerings directly to consumers' doorsteps. Online florist Flowerbx, based in London and serving customers in the UK and US, attests to the festival's impact on sales during the holiday week, with Diwali-related purchases accounting for up to 30% of sales. The company's CEO, Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, highlights the surge in sales of bright-colored flowers during Diwali, a departure from traditional seasonal trends.

While Nirmalya Kumar believes Diwali may remain a niche holiday for the time being, he acknowledges the potential for it to become part of a broader fall-winter holiday ritual embraced by a wider American audience. Soni Satpathy-Singh echoes this sentiment, envisioning Diwali parties becoming a staple among the array of holiday celebrations starting in the fall and continuing through the winter. As Diwali continues to illuminate retail spaces and cultural festivities, its journey from niche to mainstream holiday status appears to be underway.

In conclusion, the increasing visibility and commercialization of Diwali in the United States signify a cultural and commercial evolution, extending its influence beyond traditional celebrations. Specialty stores and brands, such as Patel Brothers, have adapted to this shift, offering a diverse range of Diwali-related merchandise, from food items to decorative accessories. The incorporation of patterned paper plates and cups into the Diwali product line at Patel Brothers is emblematic of the festival's growing resonance as an American holiday, blending seamlessly with mainstream festivities.

As the e-commerce landscape continues to thrive, specialized brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to deliver Diwali offerings directly to consumers, contributing to the festival's commercial growth. Online platforms like Flowerbx have experienced significant boosts in sales during the holiday week, with Diwali-related purchases accounting for a substantial portion of their overall sales.

While Diwali may currently be considered a niche holiday, there is a growing consensus among experts that its appeal is expanding. The festival's potential to become a part of a broader fall-winter holiday ritual in the United States is underscored by its timing and the diverse and vibrant celebrations it entails. As Diwali parties find their place among the array of holiday celebrations starting in the fall and continuing through the winter, the festival's journey from a cultural niche to a mainstream American holiday seems well underway. The convergence of cultural traditions and commercial interests presents a unique and promising landscape for Diwali's continued integration into the fabric of American festivities.