The media had recently outraged rather loudly claiming that the sale of Parle-G biscuits has gone down because of demonetisation and GST. A lot many things are blamed on demonetisation and GST. Media has been sounding a lot like local fortune-tellers who keep predicting doom and gloom every week. The massive ‘economic slowdown’ that is supposed to make Indians poor and dejected somehow never manages to stop people from spending like crazy on festival sales.
Now, after the imaginary biscuit crisis, the media has found another crisis. It is called the great Indian underwear crisis. Indians, according to Shekhar Gupta led The Print, have become so, so poor that they have stopped buying chaddis and banians.
The said article in The Print claims that Indians have become so poor that they are not buying underwear anymore. As a result, underwear store owners have become so poor after demonetisation and GST that they are unable to make payments.
The article even cites the MDs of Rupa, Lux and Dollar brands to claim that sales have come down. In the body, it is cleverly mentioned that while sales are still showing growth, they are just not as high as expected.
The article itself is terribly confusing. At one point it says the sales of innerwear has come down. But it quotes KB Agarwal later, who says that the festive season sales saw ‘only 10% growth, compared to the usual 20% growth’.
Even the major retailers cited in the article are said to have seen the growth of 2-7%, as opposed to 3-9% that they apparently saw earlier.
While the data and the sale of individual brands need further analysis, we were perplexed at the idea of common Indians withholding the purchase of vests and knickers for financial worries.
Who do we blame the slow sale of Lux Cozy on? Middle-class men, who keep wearing the same pair of underwear for years? Do people buy bras, panties, vests and chaddis for the entire family in bulk when they shop for Diwali or when they get a pay raise? Do people stop wearing underwear when the growth is 5% and start wearing than when it reaches 7%? When an article says that the growth has reached 9%, are their riots everywhere with men falling over each other to buy underwear that they have denied themselves when the growth rate of the economy was lesser?
The hero of 70s and 80s movies always, always bought shawls for his Maa and Babuji when he got a ‘Naukri’. Will millennials kids order Jockey and Lux Cozy combo packs for their parents when they get jobs now?
We are so perplexed that we are unable to fathom how exactly the sale or purchase of underwear depends upon the ‘state of the economy’. Do people usually go “Yay, I got Diwali bonus, let me buy 2 dozen chaddis first!” Do they exclaim, “Damn, that phone was expensive, I will not wear chaddis under my pants for the whole year to save money.”
We are also thinking of some probable reasons why people have apparently stopped buying underwear, as claimed in the Print’s article. When automobile sales go down, will people be saving more for bras and chaddis? Is the advent of smartphones making the populace so obsessed with expensive phones that they are ignoring wearing underwear to fund their phone purchases? Remember the huge, huge traffic jam when Ikea opened its store in Hyderabad? Just imagine how many of those people would have gone ‘bra-less’ or ‘Chaddi-less’ for days, even months.
Amazon and Flipkart had recently reported that they sold 19,000 crores worth of products in just 6 days during the Dussehra sale. They also said they are expecting sales worth 39,000 crores in October alone. Maybe Amazon and Flipkart are secretly encouraging customers to stop wearing underwear and divert their annual underwear budget into buying TVs and speakers.
When Amazon and Flipkart launch those incessant ads before each festival sale, have you ever seen them promoting underwear? No. They just promote TVs, phones, clothes, and shoes. It is probably a big corporate conspiracy by Modi government and crony capitalists to make Indians shun underwear and buy TVs and fridges only.
Applying The Print’s logic, the richest Indians will be the ones who own the maximum underwear. There lies another answer to the ‘job crisis’. Unemployed youth in hostels are often known to share each other’s undergarments. Sad state of affairs. Maybe that is the reason middle-class families never truly discard their old and torn underwear, they just turn them into ‘pochhas’, to clean scooters, floor and furniture.
As we reel under the imaginary underwear crisis, please encourage your neighbourhood people to keep buying underwear. ‘Liberals’ should also launch hashtags and placard campaigns for the chaddi banian industry.