Companies Spot a Niche for Diwali Merchandise

October 20, 2006

Author: Ansley Roan

Source: Beliefnet

Vasudha Narayanan was browsing in a Walgreens in Gainesville, Fla., last year when she saw something she'd never seen before in an American drugstore -- greeting cards for the holiday Diwali.

"I was so happy," said Narayanan, who was born in India. "It was like a piece of home almost. It was a real symbol of being part of the American fabric."

The card display was an effort to market products associated with Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and falls on Saturday (Oct. 21) this year.

"It's an important holiday for a company to recognize," said David Morse, president and CEO of New American Dimensions, a Los Angeles-based multicultural market research firm. "It shows they're really in tune with Indian culture."

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a festive time in India, and American companies are just beginning to recognize the significance of this holiday to the estimated 2 million South Asians living in the U.S.