Lockdown 2.0 has seen it all – rise in Covid19 cases, fluctuating mortality rate despite increase in vaccinations and its crippling effect on the economy. Facing all of these challenges bravely, are G & J retailers from all over the country. Government-imposed taxes, mandatory hallmarking, sudden changes in work timings and fluctuating gold prices these people are making their way though hurdles of every sort.
The year 2021 began with the hope of reduction in Covid19 cases with increased vaccinations, and the second wave swept everyone off their feet. Says Meenu Paul Khanna, Le Khanna Jeweller, Ludhiana, “Uncertainty is quite high, therefore we cannot plan anything for the future. No one can predict how exactly the future will turn out to be.” All the same, Sanjay Jain of Royal Lifestyle Jewellers, Bathinda believes that the future for G & J industry is bound to be quite good and will bring good business. Hope is what is keeping their spirits high.
Aggressive marketing strategies
“We have become more active on Instagram, we also send whatsapp messages to our regular clients showing them our latest designs,” informs Mahender Khurana, Sunder Jewellers, Chandigarh. Most stores have good walk-ins and thereby business is picking up steadily. “We have good walk-in clients. There is about 70 per cent of usual walk-ins. Fluctuations in gold prices are affecting walk-ins. We have suspended all aggressive marketing strategies, that is because we understand that everyone is going through a difficult phase in life,” explains Anil Goyal, Saraf – The Jeweller, Chandigarh.
Advertising over the internet and digital media is helping many retailers build a good clientele, “We have become more active on Instagram, we also send whatsapp messages to our regular clients showing them our latest designs,” informs Meenu Paul Khanna.
A hurdle race
The pandemic has been a leveller of sorts and therefore we are paying attention to our day to day activities. Says Anil Goyal, “The ratio of buyers between gold and diamond jewellery is about 70-30 and there has been a drop of about 30 per cent demand for both types of jewellery.” The biggest challenges that retailers face on a daily basis are the new taxes that are imposed on jewellery retailers sometimes it is GST, sometimes income tax, and the recent hurdle is mandatory hallmarking. “We comply with everything and that does become somewhat difficult. It is as if the government is out there to put jewellery retailers through challenges. We have no option but to deal with all of it,” explains Anil Goyal. If the government is able to fix a specific gold rate for one whole month – it will be greatly beneficial to buyers and retailers both. “Middle class buyers will be able to provide for gold buying in their monthly budget and retailers too will see increased demand,” he opines. HUID is affecting day to day activities of most retailers adversely. Many feel that government should abolish HUID. At the same time, opines Mahender Khurana, “Hallmarked jewellery ensures total transparency, we are able to regain the trust of clients better.”
Deal with the pandemic
Most G & J retailers have invested in staff welfare extensively. “We got all our staff vaccinated, we supported all our employees. We did not cut any salaries. We ensured that our karigars had unstinted food supply over an above the salary and took extra care of our staff,” explains Meenu Paul Khanna.
Some jewellery retailers have invested in real estate to ensure more spacious and comfortable showrooms. “We have expanded our store by investing in the adjoining space and thereby our clients can maintain better distancing. We ensured that our karigars are well looked after. They did not go back to their native places,” shares Mahender Khurana.