Retail & Rains
The only time of the year when Chennai experiences cool weather is during the monsoon season. This change in temperature sparks a change in patterns of retailers and consumers.
With the rains getting heavier and nights getting cooler, people are always in need of clothing and accessories which are suitable for rainy days. There are many markets in the city that cater to these needs. Parry’s Corner is a wholesaler’s paradise, Mylapore has a series of shops that are popular for rain protection gear and footwear, Purasaiwakkam has many deals for consumers and T Nagar offers everything a shopper would want and then some more. The best part of shopping are the eateries that offer hot snacks and beverages along with refuge to shoppers. While tea, samosa, corn, hot puffs and sundal are the crowd favourites, there are many who find joy in a cold icecream on a cool, monsoon day. The market place is busy during monsoons for retailers, restaurants, eateries and chai shops. Even pharmaceutical companies see a rise in footfalls due to the increase in the seasonal flu and the demand for products that can offer cure.
Monsoon Makkal (people)
T Nagar is arguably the retail Capital of Chennai city. An area that caters to the retail wants and desires of every single person catering to all age groups with eye-catching marketing gimmicks that keep a consumer engaged. You see children dragging their parents one way and the parents dragging the children another and trying to keep to budget. People want jackets and hoodies with their favourite superhero printed on it, sweaters of various colours to wear on cold evenings, polyesters and other light weight fabrics are preferred for working population since they dry faster, senior citizens seek comfort with earmuffs & caps for their morning walks, open footwear like sandals and chappals are hot-sellers because Chennai is famous for water logging and of course, no monsoon is complete without a colourful display of raincoats, umbrellas, rain jackets and more!
All said and done, shopping in the rains of Chennai is not always easy. But retailers do their part to make the experience more engaging. Window displays get overhauled with the monsoon/winter collection. Shops and establishments go out of their way to be welcoming to their customers by offering parking assistance, steppingstones in front of entrances, refreshment counters, staff with umbrellas to help customers navigate inside the compound, temporary structures to take shelter from the rain and so much more. The monsoon is even an opportunity for brands to garner goodwill through acts of kindness and charity especially during crises like floods.
Despite the best efforts of consumer and retailer, rains can play spoilsport. There might be an overall decline in revenues for a brief spell, due to timings getting affected by water logging, lack of public transport, local staff finding it difficult to reach the workplace etc. While service levels may not be at 100%, some customers prefer less crowded environments to shop in and those who are shopping for weddings will shop irrespective of the weather conditions.
Monsoons are vital to a country like India where the success of a $2 trillion farm economy depends on it. This in turn affects consumer spending. So, let’s keep praying to those rain gods for good rains every year to ensure life and economy survives. Maintaining storm drains, conscious garbage disposal and maintaining premises in good condition all contribute towards reducing risk of water logging. Despite best measures, once stagnation takes place having an effective pumping system in place is a big boon to businesses. The Corporation of Chennai is also actively working towards measures to prevent water stagnation across the city.