As 2022 draws to a close, jewellery retailers take a moment to reflect on the year that was, and express their views on what to expect in 2023. The industry is upbeat, and there’s a lot of optimism in the sector, discovers Suneeta Kaul
We are in the last quarter of the calendar year 2022, and the jewellery industry is in the middle of recovery and consolidation. The festive season brought glad tidings to the sector, with retailers saying it has been a great year, compared to the previous two years that were marred by the pandemic.
Says Dr Saurabh Gadgil, of PNG Jewellers, Pune, “The world has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic. Jewellery retailers have been forced to undergo a much-needed technological and cultural transformation. This has spurred growth for companies that have embraced these changes and created hurdles for the ones refusing to change.
“2022 has been a year when people have really learnt to enjoy life, and not postpone moments of celebrations. This has spurred growth of the jewellery industry, with most geographies seeing fantastic jewellery sales in India. People have had a good year, weddings have again started in full swing, jewellers are happy and have recuperated from the last two years of lockdowns.”
Learnings of 2022
Retailers say that the industry has only just returned to normalcy, and 2023 will be a test case of how the jewellery sector behaves, now that the pandemic, and its impact, is more or less over. Explains Varghese Alukka of Jos Alukkas, Thrissur, “The past two years were a phase of uncertainty and struggle for most businesses. The markets went into a sense of normalcy only this year. So, it is hard to objectively assess the business and growth that we have seen this year. However, I can say that overall, the year has been extremely positive. The biggest learning has been that in spite of everything, there is still a high interest in gold, and demand for gold and gold jewellery is stronger than ever across age-groups and generations. The younger generation sees gold as a very smart investment and a style statement. This is very promising.”
AVR Siddhanth of AVR Swarna Mahal, Salem, agrees that 2022 was a recovery period. “The retail jewellery industry was recovering from the after-effects of the pandemic during the year. It was a time when people re-assessed their priorities – they gave more importance to the emotional aspects of their life, as they felt life is uncertain and it is best to live well now rather than postpone plans.
“Jewellery plays an important role in the emotional journey of people. Hence, sales shot up, and people spent readily on jewellery. As for us, we launched our LGD brand, Evaglow this year, and it has done very well. We sell mined diamonds and LGDs in the same store, and customers buy both. In fact, the introduction of LGDs has increased the overall sales of our diamond jewellery,” he says.
2022 was also the year when even the most reluctant among jewellery retailers accepted that social media and online platforms were essential to their business. “This year has been about the power of social media,” declares Satinder Jain of Jain Jewellers, Bathinda. “We, as retailers, have no choice but to accept that social media rules. It dictates trends, sets the tone for purchases. So, we have to be aware of what’s trending. Online transactions increased manifold in 2022, and we no longer expect all customers to physically visit our store. So yes, 2022 has taught us many lessons,” he adds.
Agrees Sumeet Anand of Punjabi Saraf Jewellers, Indore, “In 2022, retailers learned several things, prime among them being the power of social media. The retail industry started taking websites, social media platforms, the online medium more seriously. Over time, we have witnessed a drastic change in buying patterns. Young ladies in Indore are very aware of the latest trends. This is because they are active on social media, and they know exactly what’s trending. They demand what celebrities, influencers and their counterparts in bigger cities are buying, and we too have learnt to be in sync with social media-dictated trends.”
What to expect in 2023
If 2022 was a year of recovery, new designs and acceptance of the importance of social media, 2023 will be a year of consolidation and furthering the gains made in 2022. “2022 was a year of customer service, after sales service, warranties and brand legacy. Discounts were the last thing on consumers’ demand list. 2022, however, will not be a year being replicated in 2023. The coming year will see adoption of technology in a big way. Retailers will find more and more innovative ways to make life simpler for customers in terms of transactions, and provide them a great in-store buying experience.
“Hence, understanding the changing needs of customers in 2023 from the design and trend perspective will be paramount. We are going to see a lot of uptake in light-weight casual jewellery being purchased. Diamond jewellery has had a phenomenal 2022 and it will see further increase in share of business in 2023. We will also see a lot of kundan and polki jewellery being in demand,” elaborates Dr Gadgil.
Most retailers have expansion plans for 2023. Says Alukka, ‘We are more hopeful for the coming year and we believe more positive growth will happen. As a brand, we will continue our expansion plans and open more showrooms and bring more exciting designs to our gold jewellery collection.”
For Punjabi Saraf, the priority will be creating unique customer experiences. According to Anand, “2023 will be all about creating a different experience for clients. We have ample stock, we specialize in different genres of jewellery, but now, we have to take the next big step. We have to reach customers who are not in our geographic vicinity. So, we will be available to those customers also who cannot visit us physically.”
Jain is in line with his counterpart from Indore, saying, “Social media and online sales will rule in 2023. More and more jewellery will be sold online, and payments too will be made remotely in the coming year. At Jain Jewellers, we will expand our operations online and be available to customers who are far from us geographically.”
AVR Swarna Mahal is also in the expansion mode, but the brick-and-mortar kind. Says Siddhanth, “In 2023, we are eyeing expansion of our operations. As of now, we have our main store in Salem, but in the coming year, we will be opening a grand outlet in Thyagaraya Nagar, Chennai, and that will become our flagship store.”
Clearly, there is hope and optimism all around the retail jewellery sector, so here’s looking forward to 2023.