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Malls spend top dollars on Christmas decorations

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Mannu Mathew
Mannu Mathew
With over four years of experience, Mannu Mathew specializes in business journalism with a focus on technology, the retail sector, D2C, and E-commerce brands. He is working as the Assistant Editor for India Retailing and Images Retail Magazine.

A look at the different activities, decorations and initiatives malls across the country have planned for the Christmas season this year

New Delhi: Christmas and New Year are some of the busiest shopping times for malls across the globe. So, malls in India are also decked up to their best with innovative themes of Christmas decorations to go with the season.

Event management companies that help the decorations and installations in malls said the shopping centres splash top dollars for the Christmas and New Year adornments.

“Larger malls spend anywhere between Rs 10-60 lakh for their Christmas decorations,” said Gunwant Singh, co-founder of Karmic Events India who counts DLF Malls, Pacific Malls, Delhi Airport and Phoenix Palassio Mall in Lucknow among his clients. “The average spend is around Rs 25 lakh per mall.”

Last week, DLF CyberHub in Gurugram invited the members of the OG Santa family from Finland – attired in their full Santa outfits – to greet the customers and to set the tone of Christmas celebrations.

Malls spent top dollars on Christmas decorations
OG Santa family from Finland | Image Credit: DLF Cyberhub

DLF CyberHub has also installed an anamorphic 3D screen that shows characters that seem to be jetting out of the screen due to the 3D effects. Delhi Airport has erected a sustainable Christmas tree made up of jute, waste glasses, matkas and other waste materials.

Christmas is a time when consumers flock to malls to celebrate and soak in the festive vibe. Last year, South City Mall in Kolkata recorded 2.5 lakh footfall on Christmas day, its highest since the mall opened in 2008.

Mall shower offers, discounts, events, concerts and celebrations across shopping malls in the country and decorations play a big part.

Money matters

“Christmas decorations are no longer a green and red tree. Malls want their Christmas decorations to stand out….. there should be a story behind it,” said Neha Chawla, event firm NV Concepts, who has worked on the installations in Lulu Mall in Lucknow and Logix Mall in Noida among various other shopping centres. “It’s an investment and promotion for the malls.”

One notable change Chawla has seen post-COVID is that malls no longer like to decorate the whole mall with hanging items and lights from everywhere rather they would focus on the gates, atriums and outer areas of the malls.

“They don’t want to divide the budget that has gone down post-Covid,” she said.

Indeed. Some malls are spending only around Rs 3.5 lakh for installing a Christmas tree, a tech service provider who facilitates mall decorations told IndiaRetailing in a WhatsApp message on the condition of anonymity. He said however, the shopping centres would splurge up to Rs 30 lakhs for their overall Christmas-themed decorations.

The Christmas decorations have come down from Rs 30-50 lakhs five years ago to average spending of about Rs 25 lakhs at present.

Another service provider who facilitates the process for brands in malls told IndiaRetailing that while some brands have increased their spending others have decreased. A typical, pop-up Christmas installation for individual stores costs around Rs 3 lakh.

Today, not just the cost but also the décor styles and innovations have changed, a design service provider said with technology playing a big role. Orion Mall, Brigade Gateway, for instance, has installed an LED Christmas tree this year.

Although the spending has largely remained the same for the last couple of years, this year’s excitement has gone up several notches with shopping centres planning several things for their customers. Here’s a look at what some prominent malls across the country are doing this Christmas:

Lulu Malls

Multinational Conglomerate Lulu Group International’s seven operational malls have been transformed into Christmas-themed spectacles, officials told IndiaRetaling.

The themes and vibrant colour palettes create an ambience, providing customers with memorable photo opportunities.

“In collaboration with Coca-Cola, we proudly present the tallest tree, complemented by a clock tree at another location. Moreover, we’ve incorporated LED screens into our installations, offering a visual experience and enhancing the festive atmosphere with captivating displays,” said Shibu Philips, Director – Shopping Malls, Lulu Group India.

Philips added that approximately 45%-50% of its Christmas budget is allocated for decorations. The remaining budget is strategically reserved for engaging activities and performances. “This year, our investment has increased due to rising material costs and innovative enhancements. Across most locations, we’ve adjusted budgets to maintain quality and creativity in our offerings,” the Director added.

Forum Bengaluru

Bengaluru-based prestige group’s Forum Mall, Bengaluru has partnered with Jewellery brand, Swarovski to create a 50 ft. Christmas tree.

This tree is composed of octagon-shaped boxes, each radiating with five distinct colours that define the brand’s identity.

Nexus Seawoods Mall

Navi Mumbai-based Nexus Seawoods Mall is decked up for Christmas with Polar Express in association with Hamleys where kids can indulge in fun-filled activities.

Polar Express in association with Hamleys | Image Credit: Nexus Seawoods

Kids can immerse themselves in festive activities, including collecting a Polar Express passport, making wishes, and interacting with cheerful Elves. They can pass through the Naughty or Nice Scanner, indulge in sweet Christmas candy, and embark on a VR tour to the North Pole.

There are also workshops organised for kids at the Hamleys Toy Factory over the Airspace. Children will also get a chance to meet Santa Claus, hand over their wish letter, and capture the magic with a selfie, the mall said in a statement.

Infiniti Malls

The Infiniti Mall at Andheri in Mumbai is adorned with festive decorations such as a Christmas tree in the main atrium of the mall, a life-size carousel, a lighting arch gate and a giant wheel as part of Christmas decoration among other elements, stated the mall officials.

Christmas tree in the main atrium of the mall, a life-size carousel, a lighting arch gate and a giant wheel | Image Credit: Infiniti Mall

Also on offer is a flea market by specially-abled children at its Malad location, providing an opportunity for visitors to purchase hand-made products such as chocolates, candles, decorative items, accessories and other personalized gifting options, mall officials told IndiaRetailing.

“This year approximately 35% of the budget is allocated towards creating an environment filled with cheer, enthusiasm and inclusivity during the festive season,” said Gaurav Balani, deputy general manager marketing, Infiniti Mall.

There has been a prominent increase in the amount invested this year, with a 15- 20% increase when compared to the previous year, Balani added.

Iris Broadway

The main attraction at the Iris Broadway in Gurugram is the Christmas tree, standing at a height of approximately 35 ft., mall officials said.

Malls spent top dollars on Christmas decorations
The main attraction at the Iris Broadway in Gurugram is the Christmas tree | Image Credit: Iris Broadway

Additionally, a range of activities are planned for people of all ages, including arts and crafts, live music, anchor activities, a magician, a genie, a mirror dressman, a clown, jugglers, and even a visit from Santa Claus.

“Engaging with customers is crucial to succeed in the competitive retail industry. Every year, we aim to elevate the customer experience by introducing unique attractions,” said Aman Trehan, Executive Director, Trehan Iris.

Phoenix Mall of Asia, Bengaluru

Phoenix Mall of Asia in Bengaluru has set up a 100 ft. tall Christmas tree, which happens to be the tallest in the city and the country, a mall official told IndiaRetailing.

The tree was unveiled last week and beneath its branches, there is a life-sized gingerbread house inviting both adults and children to step inside.

The mall has established a European-themed market as a part of its Christmas shopping experience that offers artefacts, home decor products, and other festive merchandise, stated the mall official.

Orion Mall, Brigade Gateway

Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway in Bengaluru has erected India’s first and largest digital Christmas tree, standing tall at 85 ft. The tree is fully illuminated by LEDs and displays, animations, including snowflakes, Santa and the season’s greeting, mall officials told IndiaRetailing.

Orion Mall, Brigade Gateway | Image Credit: Orion Mall

Smaller versions of the digital tree standing at 30 ft tall, can be found at OrionUptown Mall at Whitefield – Hoskote Junction and Orion Avenue Mall at Cooke Town respectively. This year’s theme for the shopping centre is ‘Christmas Bash – A Magical Experience.’

In addition to the tree, Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway also hosts live concerts featuring various artists from across the country to set the festive atmosphere.

“We allocate 10 to 15% of the budget for the decoration,” Sunil Munshi, Vice President – Retail, Brigade Group told IndiaRetailing.

“This year, our marketing strategy has driven exceptional growth, boasting a double-digit surge in sales and foot traffic compared to the previous year. Notably, our marketing expenditure aligns with both last year’s and pre-pandemic levels, underscoring our efficiency in achieving these impressive results,” added Munshi.

Pacific Malls

Pacific’s newest mall, Mall of Faridabad has adorned a tree for the Christmas season. The tree creates a stunning display of lights that dance with colours, inviting everyone to appreciate and celebrate the holiday spirit, mall officials told IndiaRetailing.

Malls spent top dollars on Christmas decorations
Mall of Faridabad has adorned a tree for the Christmas season | Image Credit: Mall of Faridabad

Other malls from the developer like the Sweet Celebration at Pacific Dehradun, the Magical Countdown at Pacific Premium Outlets Mall in Jasola, and the Glitzy Holiday Gala at Pacific Tagore Garden have been designed to captivate visitors and enhance their festive experience.

“We have allocated around 15-20% of our total budget to these mesmerizing decorations,” Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group told IndiaRetailing.

“We’ve significantly increased our investment to enhance the festive atmosphere in our malls and attract more visitors. By allocating additional funds, our goal is to deliver a beautiful and engaging program that entices visitors to immerse themselves in the magic of the season,” added Bansal.

With inputs from Anagha R Ratna, IndiaRetailing

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