Deepavali or Diwali, the festival of lights that is widely celebrated by Hindus across the world. Diwali 2021 falls on November 4th.
According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, it is a day that signifies the return of Lord Rama after 14 years in exile along with his wife, Goddess Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana. It is also believed that worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on the day of Diwali brings prosperity, wealth, and happiness.
Diwali is popularly celebrated in major cities of the world where there is a sizable Indian diaspora - in countries like the United States, Australia, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, and others.
Many things have changed in the way people celebrate Diwali in modern times. The age-old tradition of exchanging gifts, lighting oil lamps, feasting on sweets, and wearing new clothes still remains.
As this auspicious day approaches, buying gifts and thinking of gifting ideas for friends and family, and loved ones to show them love and respect is certainly on the cards of every household that celebrates Diwali.
A celebration that marks the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and light over dark is only a few days away. However, you might have to lower your expectations in shopping for gifts this Diwali due to the current global supply chain crisis that arose during the pandemic in 2020 and continues to worsen.
The supply chain problem is expected to carry on till 2022 as uncertainty remains about the COVID-19 delta variant. As a result, some experts are even asking people to order their Christmas presents now.
The lockdowns wreaked havoc on the global supply chain as several factories across the world remained shut and laid-off scores of workers due to fears of further spread of the Coronavirus within workplaces.
The virus-mitigation measures are still in place which is limiting the efforts to return the supply chain to pre-pandemic levels for your Diwali gifts to reach on time.
Bottlenecks on highways, clogged ports, and rail yards, shortages of containers, overburdened warehouses, shortage of truck drivers, and increased demand from consumers are some of the main challenges of the supply chain crisis.
CNN reported that two of the largest US ports, one at Los Angeles and another at Long Beach, California on the West Coast saw a 30% increase in the number of goods coming through them while processing the cargo with 28% fewer workers. More than 60 container ships are stuck at the ports with waiting times stretching to 3 weeks.
The e-commerce boom after COVID-19 added a longer-term challenge to supply chain efficiency. The supply chain crisis coincided with the skyrocketing e-commerce sales as consumers spent more on goods than going out.
This massive backlog of cargo ships has created logjams, combining that with a surge in consumer demand is a recipe for disaster. Ports, warehouses and trucking companies processing these goods with shortages of workers, equipment, and space make it difficult to keep up with the increasing demand.
As the festive shopping season draws near, many shoppers can face potential delays in retailers restocking everything from video games to diyas.
With the increasing product shortages, one fail-safe way to ensure your loved ones get gifts this Diwali season is to send money online. Besides, monetary gifts are practical gifts. The receivers can pick a gift of their choice with the money or save it for future uses.
For families and loved ones separated by distance and time zones, sending money is also a convenient and thoughtful way to show your love and appreciation this Diwali and keep the festive spirit going.
Gift cards are likely to beat all records this gifting season because of the global supply chain crisis. Giving gift cards also saves you the time and headache of picking out an item for your loved ones. There is also the risk of them not liking your physical presents.
In our 2020 Diwali gifts recommendation, we had included Apple products to camping equipment, which are still the best gifts to buy for your friends and family in India. However, with the ongoing global supply chain crisis, you might want to avoid anything that involves physical movement across international borders.
Sending money to loved ones across international borders is no longer a hassle. It can be done with a click of a few buttons on your smartphone.
Added advantage during festive seasons is that businesses have special Diwali offers for customers, offering exciting deals and discounts. If you are sending money to your families back home for Diwali, we have good news.
CompareRemit has partnered with some of the best money transfer companies in the world to come up with exclusive deals and offers. You can get free money transfers, Amazon vouchers, discounts, higher exchange rates on your international money transfers, and more.
XE is a Canada-based online foreign exchange company that offers international money transfers to over 170 countries in more than 60 currencies.
It is one of the most trusted and reliable money transfer service providers and is part of the Euronet Worldwide Group.
XE charges no transfer fee but puts a small mark-up on the rates (interbank rates) you see on Google. And you get better exchange rates with larger transfers, which means the margin gets smaller as the transfer amount increases. XE exchange rates are bank-beating and its service is cheaper than banks.
You can transfer money on their website or mobile app and fund your transfer through a bank account. Most transfers are completed in a day.
Money2India, powered by ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, is an online remittance service that allows money to be transferred from the U.S., U.K, Canada, UAE, or Singapore to over 100,000 branches of various banks in India.
The service is available through the ICICI's website or the mobile app. It offers competitive exchange rates and the low service fees are an attractive option for people on a budget. Also, the transfer fee is waived for transfer amounts above $975.
Transfer can be funded via a bank account or other payment methods such as a demand draft or a remittance card. However, direct debit through wire transfer is the most ideal one.
Instarem, founded in 2015 is a well-known digital payment solutions provider based in Singapore. It provides low-priced, fast, reliable currency exchange services in more than 55 countries.
Its ease of use and competitive pricing, up-front fees are some of the attractive features, especially for transferring smaller amounts.
There is no limit to the amount you can transfer. The speed of the transfer will depend on the currency pair, the country you are sending to, and your payment method. It can take up to 5 business days to complete the transfer. For almost instant transfer, you can pay using a debit card.
It is currently licensed in the European Union, Hong Kong, Canada, Malaysia, India, and Singapore.
Xoom, owned by one of the pioneers of digital payments PayPal, provides remittance services to millions of people all across the globe.
It offers convenient ways to send money either through cash-pick-up or direct bank deposit, and reload prepaid mobile phones, or pay bills for friends and family using a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
Xoom lets you send money to 100,211 partner locations in India or cash pickup or make a bank deposit to major banks in India such as SBI, ICICI, HDFC, etc. You can also send money to India through Xoom UPI.
Skrill is an online payment system, initially launched in the U.K. as an e-commerce payment gateway for gambling and forex brokers.
Owned by The Paysafe Group, Skrill is a well-established money transfer service provider authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K., and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Authority (FinCEN) in the U.S.
Skrill money transfer is one of the cheapest ways to send money internationally. Skrill offers versatile pay-in options such as funding via a bank account, debit card, credit card, Paysafecard, and Rapid Transfer.
Bank transfers can take anywhere between 2 to 5 days while other methods are processed instantly.
Western Union is an industry leader in the money transfer business. Being the oldest money transfer provider in the world comes with many advantages. It has almost 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories, even reaching the remotest locations of the world.
In India alone, 60,000 agent locations span over 7,000 cities, towns, and villages.
There are multiple options to send and receive money with Western Union from cash pickup to bank deposits.
You can send money online through their mobile app, website, or cash transfer and fund the transfer with your bank account, debit, or credit card and pay directly with cash at an agent location.
If you are sending money to your loved ones this Diwali season, the best time to send money online and get the best value for your money is to check for the highest exchange rates by comparing between different money transfer providers and the lowest transfer fees.
You need to plan ahead if you want your monetary gift to reach your friends and family on a specific date like Diwali. And best of all, take advantage of the offers, discounts, and promotions provided by the money transfer companies.