The pandemic has changed the way the world spends money. The wedding day is a day of great joy for brides across all social, economic, religious and geographical boundaries – it is arguably one of the most awaited days in the life of a young girl. Right from her look, the attire, accessories and jewellery she will want the very best of everything on this day for herself. Jewellery is the most important and expensive components of this day.
“Bridal jewellery has a tradition and a historic significance especially in India. The jewellery that a bride takes from her father to her new family – is her stree dhan. The father of the bride will not compromise with this gift for his precious daughter,” explains Vijay Khanna of Delhi-based Khanna Jewellers.
Price no bar
Interestingly, with increase in gold prices, demand for gold jewellery increases, because, buyers believe that this upward trend in gold price will continue and later on prices will escalate further. According to Satyam Kapoor, Umesh Malliram Jewellers, Punjab, “Demand for bridal jewellery is nearly 60 percent of our total demand, since lockdown. People are spending more on buying bridal jewellery, than before, because of the curb on number of people who can be invited for the wedding. Many families are investing this money on bridal jewellery.”
When it comes to a father’s gift on the wedding day for his daughter – “he does not look at the gold price – he just looks at the best amount he can invest in jewellery for his daughter on this day,” explains Vijay Khanna.
While Abhinav Rastogi of Swarn Ganga Jewellers, UP presents a different view, “There’s no increase or decrease in budget for bridal jewellery, however, due to hike in prices of gold, quantity of gold that they can buy in their budget has reduced considerably.”
Bridal sets in Jadau, polki, diamond and gold…
Increase in gold price and thereby reduction in difference of gold and diamond sets has made more families able to afford diamond jewellery. Says Satyam Kapoor, “Kundan, jadau and polki jewellery is preferred by this new generation of brides.” Gold jewellery sets and diamond sets are bought as part of tradition. At the same time, “brides are preferring a mix of diamond and kundan both,” informs Hyderabad-based Abhishek Agarwal, of Shree Jewellers. Whereas Saurabh Agarwal, Chetmani Ornaments Pvt Ltd, UP says, “We are seeing more movement in gold inventory and some in diamond sets. The buyers’ budgets haven’t increased, as we expected. Therefore given the fixed budget, buyers aren’t able to buy a lot of variety, because gold prices are increasing rapidly.”
Budgets are mostly fixed
Despite hike in gold prices budget for buying bridal jewellery has remained unchanged in most cases. This has its pros and cons. “As gold prices have increased, and budgets are fixed, not many people are able to buy as much gold as maybe till last year during these days,” informs Samit Rastogi, Lala Purshottam Das Jewellers, UP. The gold prices are quite volatile at present, that coupled with the 15-days of shraddha paksh gold buying is less. “Buying jewellery is more necessity based during the post lockdown phase,” adds Samit Rastogi. Many jewellers had expected that there would be spurt in demand for bridal jewellery because of the money saved during lockdown and related curbs on number of guests to be invited for the wedding ceremony. “This isn’t as visible as we would have wanted it to be. There is a marginal improvement in demand for bridal jewellery, because those families which have weddings scheduled in November and December also are buying jewellery now, as they expect prices to rise further,” adds Saurabh Agarwal.
Demand is yet to pickup
Demand in big metro cities, like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata is showing an upward movement, while that in towns like Amritsar, Lucknow, Meerut, Jaipur, Chennai, Pune, Nasik, Nagpur, Trivandrum, et al – especially in tier II and tier III cities it is yet to improve. Says Princeson Jose, Chairman and MD, Prince Jewellery, Chennai, “Demand for bridal jewellery is barely there. Walk-ins are few and of those perhaps only 30 per cent are for bridal jewellery.” According to Subhas Kamath, Abharan Jewellers, Udupi, purchase of bridal jewellery has been hampered by hike in gold price and the lockdown. “People have become wary of their spending habits. Budgets for bridal jewellery are greatly reduced,” Kamath informs. While Jose feels that despite the fact that size of wedding functions has reduced, people do not want to spend all their money on bridal jewellery. They want to save for their future. “Frugality has surely set in. Lavish weddings are a thing of the past,” Jose informs. While Anil Sankhwal of J H Jewellers, Delhi, says, “There is a slight increase in demand for gold coins, instead of splurging on bridal jewellery, father of the bride is seen to be gifting gold coins as an investment to his daughter. People have faith in gold that is why they are buying gold coins, which they can sell later, when the price rises further and when they need the cash.”
Hitesh Adeshra of Jamshedpur-based Keshavji Chhaganlal Jewellers, sums up, “This situation will change by next year. Covid19 has indeed affected spending habits. The masses are in a state of concern. This gloom will pass – we need to give it some time. Everyone is sailing in the same boat -- rich or poor, employed or unemployed therefore despite the fact that some people have money – they aren’t spending it too lavishly.”
Verdict: Yes – families are more cautious while buying jewellery with a restricted budget. Light weight and small ticket items are a mainstay, while heavy sets are witnessing a low demand.