It has nearly been a month since jewellery stores opened in the royal city of Hyderabad. The city is known for its affluent clientele whose penchant for the finer things of life has been evident through its ostentatious weddings and events. The pandemic has robbed the city of its flourish, as there are no more big fat Indian weddings, hence affecting the plight of jewellers across the city.

“Business will take time, people are scared of coming out, jewellery is the last thing they would want to buy. Gold prices are also high. Those families which have weddings planned, are buying jewellery, others are not. People are buying smaller pieces. We have good personal contact with our clients, because of the lockdown, we had a lot of time to keep in touch with our clients,” opines Vijay Kumar of Vijay Vithaldas.

 

Those families which have weddings planned, are buying jewellery, others are not. People are buying smaller pieces - Vijay Kumar, Vijay Vithaldas

 

Casual walk-ins and impulsive purchase is a long shot. With some stores, as little as 1 or 2 customers are dropping in, that too because of absolute necessity. “We re-opened on May 19. The footfall is very less. Weekly there have been only 10 to 12 walk-ins. Casual purchases are not happening. Only those families which have some occasion are coming forward to buy jewellery – they are mostly buying necklaces, and other traditional heavy bridal jewellery. Many people are coming in to sell gold. Only after the fear of the pandemic is over – people will come out to buy jewellery,” says a spokesperson from P Satyanarayana & Sons Jewellers.

Jewellers are also trying to adapt to the New Normal with many of them opting for showcasing products through scheduled video calls. Ensuring both staff and customer safety is of utmost priority. “Walk-ins are 20 -30 per cent of normal footfall. Only those people who have some functions planned in their family are buying jewellery. They are spending only 30-40 per cent of their budget on jewellery. We have mostly gold jewellery buyers. We have been trying to circulate videos about customer testimonials. People are afraid of venturing out to buy, the buyer sentiment is filled with caution – they are not buying jewellery unless they really have to. Till this year end, I believe this sentiment will prevail,” says Samvit Gupta of Tibarumal Ramnivas.

 

We have mostly gold jewellery buyers. We have been trying to circulate videos about customer testimonials. People are afraid of venturing out to buy, the buyer sentiment is filled with caution – they are not buying jewellery unless they really have to - Samvit Gupta, Tibarumal Ramnivas

But as the adage goes, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade, some jewellers are trying to do their best to innovate during this time without letting low footfall deter them. “Jewellery enquiries are there – we have clients who show their interest over video conferencing. They are buying big jewellery for a special occasion – small casual buying also is happening. People should react to this situation positively, after the fear of the pandemic subsides, gold buying will be quite high. Business will bounce back – better than it was before,” says Darshan Gupta of Mangatrai Pearls Gems Jewels.

 

People are buying big jewellery for a special occasion – small casual buying also is happening. People should react to this situation positively, after the fear of the pandemic subsides, gold buying will be quite high. Business will bounce back – better than it was before - Darshan Gupta, Mangatrai Pearls Gems Jewels

Many jewellers are planning to launch an app and ecommerce portal for their smaller ticket items ranging from Rs2-5 lakhs. Kishandas & Co which specialises in luxury, bridal jewellery is also working on a portal to showcase jewels that are priced low. “There are days with no customers. What is working for us is video calls with customers, as they want to make a purchase for weddings scheduled in August or September. But the indulgent shoppers are completely nonexistent now. No one wants to buy jewellery because a cousin or friend is getting married, because weddings have been downsized and are becoming a smaller affair. The economy also is badly hit. Every business community from realtors to industrialists and retailers, everybody is affected. No one has the extra buck to spend. And for smaller affairs, given the current scenario where the entire world is facing this hardship, people don’t want to flaunt big pieces. We are looking at making smaller, affordable pieces without compromising on quality, which has always been our USP,” quips Pratiksha Prashant of Kishandas and Co.

The indulgent shoppers are completely nonexistent now. No one wants to buy jewellery because a cousin or friend is getting married, because weddings have been downsized and are becoming a smaller affair. The economy also is badly hit. Every business community from realtors to industrialists and retailers, everybody is affected. No one has the extra buck to spend. We are looking at making smaller, affordable pieces without compromising on quality, which has always been our USP - Pratiksha Prashant, Kishandas & Co