India is a land of tradition and culture and therefore pandemic or no pandemic people do celebrate every tradition and festival. This indomitable spirit is what is unique to Indians and world over renews hope and ushers in a remarkable good cheer. Akshay Tritiya also known as 'Akha Teej' is one of the most auspicious days celebrated by Hindus across the country. People purchase gold on this day. It is believed that buying gold on Akshay Tritiya brings prosperity and more wealth in the coming future.
Lockdown cannot take away the individual will to buy gold and it is high time jewellers started promoting online portals and accepting bookings via internet. “We are promoting our products on social media and through our website. Our consistent efforts are receiving good responses. Selling products online is the only option we have as the country is under lockdown. We have promoted schemes for Akshay Tritiya ‘book now and choose later’ which allows customers to lock rates and we also give a good discount on making charges,” explains Anand Prakash of Abhushan Diamonds & Gold, Agra.
Many banks are offering cashbacks on online purchase of jewellery and some are also offering free gold coins as prizes for many online purchases of jewellery an/or high value goods. “Customers are showing an interest in lightweight jewellery worth Rs 35,000 - Rs 50,000. This Akshay Tritiya I expect sales to increase by 25 per cent as compared to sales for the same occasion last year. Inventory has to be managed effectively as overstocking and understocking both can cause problems. We have enough experience to gauge the market and stock the right amount of goods. There will be good sales – since today morning (morning of May 14) onwards sales have started showing a good rise,” explains Rupesh Jain, Candere.
Online is the way to go
As most jewellery stores are under total lockdown, selling jewellery online is the only way out for most jewellers. “This year the response is tepid, as buying jewellery is not on the priority list of most buyers. All the same families which have weddings planned in the near future or some such occasion are buying gold. Akshay Tritiya sales are visible and better off than last year’s,” informs Prakash.
Jewellery manufacturers can use digital media as a platform for conveying information, shaping brand identity, and building customer relationships. Many luxury shoppers engage in online research prior to an in-store purchase; others say that they frequently turn to social media for information and advice. During lockdown, customers have nowhere to go and therefore buy jewellery and gold or silver coins online. “We have been receiving online enquiries and there have been conversions taking place over video consultation, phone calls and through social media. Buying jewellery is now more need-based rather than indulgence. Only people who have weddings in the family or who want to buy for gifting and other genuine needs are buying jewellery. The categories that have been stable are the bridal category and gold jewellery. In the current scenario, gold is the safest bet because it is both an appreciating as well as easy to liquidate asset. We would promote more light-weight and wearable jewellery and become more aggressive in our online / digital marketing strategy to push online sales,” explains Ishu Datwani.
The pandemic has taught many lessons -- it has changed how jewellers think and how they act . This time jewellery retailers are better prepared than last year. “Although times are difficult, we have come up with a strategy where we are attracting our customers with our price protection programme. We have our customers’ support team who are taking booking from customers and payment mode is online. Promotions are done on all our social media platforms. We have also listed our signature designs on our website where a customer can try our jewellery virtually through Augmented reality from the comfort of their homes,” informs Saket Keshri of Ratnalaya Patna.
That apart, their customer support teams are calling around 250 customers everyday and enquiring about customers’ well-being and also conveying their Akshay Tritiya offer to potential clients. “There is need-based buying only. Therefore those families which have weddings planned are buying bridal sets and some occasion-centric buying is there. For Akshay Tritiya many buyers are going in for gold and silver artifacts or coins,” Keshri adds.
Earlier in anticipation of sales on Akshay Tritiya many jewellery retailers used to stock up light weight jewellery – gold and silver coins and gold bars. But this time because of the lockdown – stock element is good and jewellers did not have to buy as much inventory – because number of customers were less. “In terms of volume and value the sales have definitely increased but in actual number of customers they still have to rise,” explains Keshri.
Buying of Akshay Tritiya is more of a token buying wherein clients buy some gold because it is a tradition to buy gold on this day. Serious and high value items are bought only when gold rates are stabilized in a affordable range. Says Piyush Gupta of P P Jewellers By Pawan Gupta, Delhi, “Most customers are showing an interest in buying gold and silver coins and gold bars – as compared to last year’s Akshay Tritiya this time sales have increased by 20 per cent. A lot of customers are calling us and we are delivering products of their preference at their doorstep. People are not buying as much jewellery. The prices are stable this year and therefore demand is increasing. Both clients and retailers are more prepared this year as compared to last year and therefore buying is good. For Akshay Tritiya we have announced 25 per cent discount on all products and a 25 per cent off on making charges as well.”
Price and Demand
Prices are relatively stable this year and therefore demand too is steady. In real time buyers are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted because jewellery buying in India is based on a lot of physical scrutiny and trying-on etc. “ At the moment we have online bookings though deliveries will be made after the lockdown. Our website and ecomm sites have come very handy in this lockdown which has a lot of our product showcase. Besides, Akshay Tritiya bookings are happening; be it gold coins or jewellery. There is visible no trend in buying, we have orders for all types of products from gold coins to bridal sets. Each client has different needs. Lot of our customers who have some event coming up are booking jewellery, some are going in for coins or smaller items,” explains Snehal Choksey, Director, Shobha Shringar Jewellers.
Online mode is the only way to connect with our customers. People who have weddings in upcoming days have connected with jewellers through online platforms for shopping. “We haven't issued any offers this year due to the current scenario. Light weight jewellery or casual jewellery is here to stay for a long time. Other than that there is still demand of wedding jewellery as it is an ongoing wedding season as well. Sales have definitely decreased, since our stores have been shut due to the lockdown. This is the second year of the pandemic and lockdown, we didn't have any high expectations since the stores were shut down. The safety and security of our customers and employees is the utmost priority right now. Meanwhile we are also exploring options to stay connected with our customers,” explains Vaibhav Saraf, Director, Aisshpra Gems and Jewels.