"HDFC Bank too has reduced rates on home loans up to Rs.30 lakh to 10.25 percent and for loans between Rs.30 lakh and Rs.75 lakh to 10.5 percent."
By Priyanka Sahay

New Delhi, Oct 14 - From home appliances makers to auto companies to banks, discounts, freebies and special schemes are raining on customers this festive season.

After months of falling sales owing to higher inflation and interest rates, consumer durables companies and others are hoping to cash in on the people's tendency to spend more on their objects of desire during festival time.

The festive season is extremely important for the industry and Diwali is an all-India festival when consumers like to upgrade their home appliances and consumer electronics and this year will be no exception, said L.K. Gupta, vice president, marketing, LG India.

Electronics firms have launched special campaigns and are offering additional gifts in the form of freebies ranging from Rs.10,000 to Rs.50,000, apart from finance help to attract customers.

It is our endeavour to make the auspicious festive season even more special for our consumers by giving them exciting gifts with their purchases, said Mahesh Krishnan, vice president, consumer electronics business, Samsung India.

The gifts available to consumers range from Samsung tablets for our hi-end Series 7 and 8 in Smart TVs and select Side-by-Side refrigerators to mobiles for select home appliance products, Krishnan told IANS.

Said Pranay Kumar Shashank, a business executive who plans to buy a car this Diwali: During the festival season, despite all the negativity, people buy products because of religious sentiments and some amount of liquidity which comes in the form of the bonus that they get from their employers, he added.

Anupriya Jolly Chug, a feature writer in a magazine, has a different take on the urge to splurge during festival time. I believe shopping is a personal prerogative; inflation does not stop you from eating, then why should it stop anyone from shopping? I just allocated funds more smartly, she said.

LG's Gupta said consumer sentiment has been a concern for the industry, as also macro-economic factors like price hike due to dollar appreciation. That has forced the consumer to postpone their purchase.

Biswarup Banerjee, head of marketing communication at research firm Ipsos, said high inflation and an uncertain economic environment are among the main reasons for buyers cutting down on spending.

This festive season bargain-hunting may become the preferred choice for a majority of Indians as higher discounts will be definitely an added incentive for spending on desired items, Banerjee said, commenting on the Mood of the Nation Survey released by Ipsos this week.

LG is offering zero percent finance on selected products apart from combo offers like 3D blu ray player with Cinema screen 3D TV, 3D camcorder and 8GB USB with 55-inche Cinema screen 3D TV and 3D blockbuster movies in 8GB USB with Cinema 3D TV .

In home appliances, LG is offering a 10-year warranty on the compressor of select models of refrigerators. The company, betting big on flat panel televisions, is expecting 25-30 percent growth in sales during the season.

Panasonic too has launched its campaign called Celebrations for life.

Customers get a chance to win Bollywood Hungama voucher worth Rs.10,000 where with every purchase of a Smart VIERA 3D TV, consumers get free live streaming of 2,000 songs and three months, Manish Sharma, managing director, consumer products division, Panasonic India, told IANS.

As a special treat for all the photography buffs, Panasonic is offering a 4GB SD Card, carry pouch and three years warranty on purchase of every Lumix digital camera, he added.

Among car makers, Honda Cars India, Ford India, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are offering discounts, accessories and finance help.

Honda is offering car insurance at a nominal Re.1 on the purchase of select variants of Brio, City, Civic and Accord and a cash discount ranging from Rs.10,000 and Rs.15,000.

We are also launching a new automatic variant of Brio and will also introduce the CNG version of the City, Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Honda Cars India, told IANS.

Ford India, apart from offering free accessories, is giving customers free insurance and loyalty exchange bonus.

We are offering our customers loyalty exchange bonus apart from accessories, said Anurag Mehrotra, vice president, marketing, Ford India.

Instead of giving a cash discount, we believe in giving customers value for their money, he added.

For those planning to buy a house, it's a good time too.

ICICI Bank is offering floating rate home loans at 10.25 percent for a loan below Rs.30 lakh and 10.50 percent for a loan above Rs.30 lakh and up to Rs.3 crore.

HDFC Bank too has reduced rates on home loans up to Rs.30 lakh to 10.25 percent and for loans between Rs.30 lakh and Rs.75 lakh to 10.5 percent.

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