World over jewellery stores have opened gradually and customers are steadily going in to buy new jewellery. Slant in the global economy hasn’t been able to hold back buyers. This is an interesting trend – which in India is quite prominent – as here buying gold has a traditional significance.
No celebration is complete, without gold or silver items. Traditions overpower economy and affordability for most Indians. The poorest Indian also will buy at least a gold chain or mangalsutra at the wedding for the bride or a ring for the groom.
With the upwardly mobile, gold is also the best form of investment – and therefore it always has buyers – regardless of its price or prevailing market conditions.
It has been nearly a month that jewellery stores in Karnataka have re-opened post lockdown and business is yet to pick up. Economic slowdown seems to have set in.
Says Pratap Kamath, Abaran Timeless Jewellery, Bengaluru, “Business is about 50 per cent of the normal. We had expected it to be low, because of the layoffs and lesser disposable income with households.” They had expected about 20-30 per cent of normal, and so 50 per cent is something they are happy about. Gold prices have increased, so people will buy jewellery only if it is really essential – as in those families which have scheduled a function.
So this business of 50 per cent a new normal for jewellery retailers to settle for?
“No, of course sales will pick up post Navratri. Many weddings have been postponed to November and December this year – that is when sales will surge,” explains Subhas Kamath, Abharan Jewellers, Udupi. Till then jewellery retailers will have to find ways to attract customers, encourage sales. And make their presence felt.
According to Vicky Badera, Pankesari Badera Jewellers, Bengaluru, “Jewellery buying isn’t essential, so unless we find ways to attract customers – by way of interesting marketing and branding techniques, it may be difficult.” The competition to entice customers has increased manifold.
Jewellery retailers are introducing SIP schemes, making announcing exciting offers for every day in the calendar – from Mother’s Day, Friendship Day. Best Friends’ Week, and more.
They have taken tradition out of the box and renamed it with New Age marketing mantras to get clients interested in buying jewellery. “Online presence is very important. The millennials are constantly browsing the internet, and unless jewellery retailers are visible in that virtual world – their real world existence can be obsolete,” explains Badera.
Business will take off, once the festival season sets in. In India, no festival is complete without jewellery – “Women love to indulge in new jewellery, it is also the best investment in this day and age. and therefore hike in gold prices will not act as a deterrent,” opines Pratap Kamath.
Indian gold-loving populace expects gold prices to increase, and the increase is gradual, therefore people will adjust to the increasing prices. They may go in for lightweight jewellery -- pieces which look chunky, but actually weigh about 10 to 20 per cent less. They may go in for buying more of studded jewellery – which allows jewellery to be made with lower purity of gold, thereby remaining unaffected by rising gold price. “I do not see a major shift in styles preferred by customers. They are buying the usual items.
Customers buy what they need – in South India – gold jewellery is determined by tradition. A lot of traditional jewellery is preferred by clients. As a result of the rising gold price, some customers enquire if can get the same pieces in lighter weight, apart from that they don’t have too much of a change in preference,” explains Gurmukh Singh (Ram), Neelkanth Jewellers, Bengaluru.
Interestingly not many people have come forward to sell jewellery. “It is heartening to note, that the frugal Indian lifestyle is seeing people in good stead – there has been a negligible percentage of population, which came to sell gold,” explains Pratap Kamath.