Precious jewellery buyers take a shine to online platforms during pandemic

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December 1, 2020 7:03 AM

Most online jewellery platforms have been focussing on an omnichannel play by launching stores offline

The trend, however, is limited to lightweight jewellery; heavy jewellery is yet to take off on e-commerce.The trend, however, is limited to lightweight jewellery; heavy jewellery is yet to take off on e-commerce.

Fine jewellery, which has been a difficult category to peddle online so far for most brands, is seeing an increased uptake on e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic. Companies such as CaratLane, Bluestone and Melorra, which sell precious jewellery online, say they have witnessed significant growth since the reopening of the economy.

According to Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, founder and CEO, Bluestone.com, the platform is clocking monthly sales above Rs 41 crore and is on track to achieve Rs 500 crore revenue this fiscal as compared to Rs 255 crore in FY20. Melorra, which has seen a 65% growth this Dhanteras, is projecting its revenue to be higher than the previous fiscal’s Rs 100 crore. Meanwhile, traffic on CarateLane’s website grew by 40% during the festive period this year as compared to the last season.

The trend, however, is limited to lightweight jewellery; heavy jewellery is yet to take off on e-commerce.

“While customers are shopping for jewellery online, the surge is limited to low-cost items,” said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst, Forrester Research.

Industry watchers say that the jewellery category on online channels is not a 22-carat or 24-carat market and the average selling price is mostly below Rs 50,000. Hence, most of the companies operating in this segment focus on lightweight jewellery and smaller SKUs, which are priced at the lower end of the spectrum. The trend has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic.

“Keeping in view that gold prices were on the rise, in recent months we focussed on the value play and brought out a range of products which looked heavy, but were lightweight,” said Saroja Yeramilli, founder and CEO, Melorra.

Moreover, the online channel has emerged as a way for customers to browse and research products, and then buy them in brick-and-mortar stores — much akin to electronics or cars. Offline jewellers, too, substantiate this. As per Suvankar Sen, CEO, Senco Gold and Diamonds, the brand has seen a 15-20% growth in customers who used online tools such as digital catalogues, video calls and its website to select jewellery this festive season.

Similarly, Saurabh Gadgil, chairman, and managing director, PNG Jewellers, said heavy jewellery for weddings or serious buys are being selected by customers online, but being purchased only in stores.

To tap into this trend, most online jewellery platforms have been focussing on an omnichannel play by launching stores offline. During the pandemic, too, CaratLane and Bluestone introduced new stores with a focus on smaller towns.

“We had about 90 stores pre-Covid and now we have 110 stores,” Avinash Anand, co-founder, CaratLane, said. The company, in which Tanishq has a majority stake, has opened new outlets in towns like Patiala and Agra.

Bluestone, too, has launched 10 stores since the reopening of the economy and plans to introduce five more this year.

Despite the surge, jewellery remains a niche category in e-commerce. Experts say the category contributes less than 1% of the overall online retail market in India. According to a recent report by Bain & Co, the e-commerce market in India had an overall GMV of $30 billion.

Industry watchers are sceptical of whether consumers would continue buying jewellery online once offline store forays increase. “Precious jewellery is a very tactile and physical category and while these companies might have seen an uptake due to the pandemic, it will move out the moment normal life resumes,” brand strategy expert Harish Bijoor predicted.

Read Also: ZEE5 partners with XroadMedia to ramp up its video on demand and social media services

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