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It's boom time for corporate gift mart

Maitreyee Handique | October 03, 2003

The season for big spending to reinforce business contacts is here again. And the good news is that the Rs 1,000-crore (Rs 10-billion) corporate gift market is looking up. It is expected to grow by between 5 and 10 per cent this year after two bad years of slowdown that hit the industry.

Interestingly, people in the business say that of the Rs 1,000 crore blown up on corporate gifts, the pharmaceutical industry contributes nearly Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion). Among the other big spenders are the IT and FMCG companies.

With the prospect of growing demand during the season, lifestyle luxury companies, silverware manufacturers and importers of glassware and porcelain are going all out to woo the corporates.

If the Jaipur-based jewellery company Amrapali is stocking antique silverware in its Delhi showroom this year, I-K Silver is set to impress CEOs with its range of silverware table games.

What's more, even new players like leather goods exporters Tata International Ltd and fashion label Satya Paul hope to make an entry in the corporate gifts segment this month.

Meanwhile, Frazer & Haws is busy stocking up on its sparkling sterling silver Ganeshas worth Rs 120,000 each. It's the silver company's special Diwali edition for which it has already received a dozen orders.

Chetan Gokal of Mumbai-based Brook Trading Company, which imports the premium Lebanese Patchi chocolates too has started receiving Diwali orders from corporate houses.

Predictably, not a single company wants to divulge the size of the orders they are booking. However, it is learnt that last year, the head of an Indian company ordered a crystal bowl full of Patchi chocolates that cost a whopping Rs 50,000.

This year too the company has ordered Rogoska and Franconia range of crystal bowls from Slovenia, which cost between Rs 3,500 and Rs 7,000.

Says Gokal, "We've already started receiving orders for our classic and deluxe range of chocolates." A 60-piece box of Patchi costs about Rs 1,700 in the classic range while the deluxe is priced at Rs 2,400.

Delhi's designer silverware company, I-K Jeweller, has launched a range of games for the corporates this year. There are dominoes and tic-tac-toe, as well as Chinese checquers -- all in silver.

"While we have an entire range of Ganeshas and other gods, this Diwali we are experimenting with new gift ideas such as stress-busters which make a perfect gift for a CEO," says Ruchi Rai, I-K's business development manager.

The stress-buster is a small silver walnut-shaped ball meant to be rolled in the palm that relieves pressure. Its range also includes a miniature wooden Zen Garden (Rs 1,300), complete with rough-cut gems and silver brooms to make patterns in powdery sand.

"Our products are unisex and innovative. They are an alternative to, say a silver keychain which makes a good present but is boring," says Rai.

Corporate gift industry sources say that to avoid being boring companies are experimenting with innovative ideas like jackets, T-shirts and telescopes as gifts.

According to Vikram Sethi, corporate gift trend watcher and managing director of Mumbai-based Trade and Technology Exposition Company, this season will see a huge turnout of imported products right from glasswares to clocks as corporate gifts.

Sethi, who has been organising corporate gift exposition Giftex for the last 16 years in Mumbai, says, "There was a time when safari suits, suitcases and pens and diaries made a perfect gift. Today imported glassware, Lladro copies from China have entered the gift market in a big way. While Mumbai is the biggest spender, Delhi doesn't go beyond mithais and lacks sophistication."

Adds Shiv Kumar, Swarovski's country manager, consumer goods, "Roughly 60 per cent of our annual sales takes place during the Diwali season. But since people are tired of receiving the regular gifts, a lot more thought goes into it these days."

Swarovski will launch a new range of martini, champagne and cocktail glasses this month, which will cost between Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,000 for a pair. Clearly, players in the corporate gift market will have a sparkling Diwali.

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