The pandemic is creating trouble for gems and jewellery business across Jaipur, despite which local jewellery retailers are holding on to their inherent optimistic spirit. “Most people are buying all types of goods, as per their requirement. At present, business is around 50 per cent of normal. People are buying as per their budget,” says Vivek Agarwal, Mahalaxmi Jewellers.
Some things are certain, despite macro level uncertainty
Increasing gold prices affect sales positively and negatively as well,” explains Yash Agarwal, Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers. Many investors are looking at gold being the only investment option which is giving good returns. While for some lower income group people it could be making it difficult to buy gold. G & J sector is opening up abroad, and in India too it will open up gradually. Today, the only hindrance in sale of gold is the Coronavirus. Job lay-offs and pay cuts are affecting gold sales adversely. The current scenario is quite uncertain, the global and political scene in Jaipur also is quite uncertain. “Jaipur had majority of sales through tourists – today tourism is at a standstill, so no tourism-based sales have been happening,”adds Yash Agarwal.
Fear needs to recede
There is a lot of fear in the minds of the masses. Most of the jewellery clientele includes women and they aren’t stepping out of their houses because of the fear of infection. “Unless the whole family steps out freely in order to buy gold jewellery, sales may not come up to the pre-Covid level,” feels Vivek Agarwal.This situation may improve by the year end. It is only when overall market situation improves that we can look at better sales.
Supply has been compromised
Lockdown hasn’t been eased quite unequally across India. This has created a lot of difficulty for both manufacturers and retailers. “Only 50 per cent of our suppliers in Mumbai and Kolkata have started working. So it is difficult to procure the right variety of new pieces. This situation may improve by the year end. It is only when overall market situation improves that we can look at better sales,” informs Vivek Agarwal. Many artisans have gone back to their villages, they will return when their financial resources dry out. “This is creating some difficulty in fulfilling orders,” says Gautam Soni.
Effective inventory management is important
The pandemic has changed people’s spending habits, they want to spend only on necessities – as jewellery does come into the luxury goods segment, people are not willing to spend on jewellery.This is a major area of concern. Another noteworthy factor is that the cost of wedding parties has been reduced because of the cap on number of people to be invited. So the scale of wedding has reduced. This means, families which have weddings scheduled have reduced their spending on hospitality of guests for the wedding. “The topmost lesson I have learnt during this crisis is that – we should not stock one item of a particular type in bulk, instead we should have more variety in jewellery of different sizes and types. Stores should have more of lower budget inventory as compared to high budget inventory,” informs Lalit Musal, Motisons Jewellers. Sound inventory management is the key to good business. The G & J sector has to learn to plan inventory and be more futuristic in its approach, so as to do good business.
Post October things will improve
After October a lot of weddings have been scheduled. So there will be increased demand for bridal jewellery at that time, whatever business shortfall we are experiencing now, will be recovered post October as the wedding season picks up. Gold is the only commodity which is giving excellent results, gold prices always go up, they never decline. “In order to attract clients, we are reaching out to our clients seeing if they would like to remodel their old jewellery. We are also offering installment services to our long standing clients. I have clients who are saying, that with other expenditure going down, they can invest more money in gold,” said Gautam Soni.
Major jewellery retailers are hopeful that business will pickup post October and as weddings start happening. This lull in the G & J business is just a matter of time.