Emerging technologies may trend and fade out, but festivities in India and the loving bond between parents and siblings remain evergreen. However, with the dawn of digital India, the way a festival is celebrated across verticals has certainly seen a change. It has become of great consequence to celebrate in a manner that is pertinent to current times. Unlike yester-years, professionals are usually working in a fast paced environment and have a tumultuous schedule, which hardly leaves them any time to do much else. Hence, everything related to Raksha Bandhan from rakhis for brothers, to gifts for sisters and also Raksha Bandhan Muhurtas are looked up for online.
The industry that first took advantage of this factor is the e-retail sector. Back in 2013 to 2014, e-commerce sites rightly gauged the fact that unlike the days of yore, consumers do not have the luxury or time to squander away in markets. Leveraging this detail, e-retail sites began to offer everything required for Raksha Bandhan, which includes rakhis, to gifts for sisters, right at the doorsteps of consumers at no extra cost. This process has only evolved over the past four years as e-retail giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Ferns N Petals and other entrants offer everything from ‘Designer Raksha Bandhan’ to gift vouchers ranging from Rs 100 to 10,000 all at the finger tips of consumers.
Along with changing times, even the gifts sisters expect has changed. Those who used to be content with sweets and chocolates are now looking forward to receiving smartwatches, mobiles, tablets and what not from brothers. This is probably one of the reasons why Paytm Mall is offering attractive discounts on select smartphones ahead of Raksha Bandhan in 2018. Paytm Mall is also offering 20 percent cashback on smartphones along with no cost EMI option, as part of Raksha Bandhan sales.
Not just Paytm, travel sites like MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip too want to make maximum use of the changing Raksha Bandhan scenario. These travel websites are now offering e-gift cards for brothers to gift their sisters a holiday to their choice of destination. Not only does this make for an extremely thoughtful gift for a sister, but this also means increased revenue for the travel sites. Revenues for e-commerce sites around festivals clocks around millions of dollars and there is no reason why every e-retail site should not try to have a slice of that.
Another reason that transformed the way the festival is being celebrated is professionals have migrated or travelled further apart in search of better opportunities. This means that siblings have to rely heavily on e-commerce sites to tell each other that they are still important to their lives. Sites like RakhiBazaar.com are therefore offering express same day delivery and even delivery to locations outside India. RakshiBazaar.com claims to deliver rakhis and gifts from Abu Dabhi to Andorra and also to countries down under like Australia.
Nevertheless, one of the sane voices today said that brothers must ‘GiftASkill’ to sisters instead of material substances that are high only on emotional value but does nothing to empower women who are capable of making immense contributions towards the economy. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, today took to social media sites to advice youth to change the way Raksha Bandhan is celebrated and not just reduce it to a mere ritual.
“With changing times, learning of what it means to protect a sister should also be re-imagined. To protect a sister is to equip her to become economically self reliant,” he says. He also endorses that brothers must gift sisters a skill that will see them through challenges they face in life every day, thus freeing them from a cycle of dependency. “Gift a skill to your sister this year instead of giving her material things, which do little to empower her. Pay her fees for enrollment to a skill programme and counseling centres that are available in plenty in government and private sectors,” he adds.