Fine jewellery brands go ‘light’ to woo customers amid pandemic

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March 9, 2021 1:20 AM

PNG Jewellers, after witnessing a 35-40% rise in demand for lightweight jewellery, launched a new collection in August last year, which starts at Rs 10,000, much below its bridal line starting at Rs 2 lakh. Tanishq, too, renewed its focus on the category in August.

According to industry estimates, about 70-80% of jewellery bought online in India is priced below Rs 30,000.According to industry estimates, about 70-80% of jewellery bought online in India is priced below Rs 30,000.

As consumer demand for fine jewellery suffered due to the soaring prices of gold and a fall in discretionary spending over the last year, fine jewellery players have rejigged their strategies to tap the lightweight segment. Since July, companies such as ORRA, PNG Jewellers and Tanishq have introduced lighter collections, both in weight and on the consumer’s pocket.

ORRA, which has its traditional bridal range priced at above Rs 2 lakh, introduced a new collection called ‘Desired’ last month, priced in the Rs 8,000-1,00,000 range. Similarly, PNG Jewellers, after witnessing a 35-40% rise in demand for lightweight jewellery, launched a new collection in August last year, which starts at Rs 10,000, much below its bridal line starting at Rs 2 lakh. Tanishq, too, renewed its focus on the category in August.

“As gold prices went up, we redesigned our products to ensure that we can give them the look and feel of heavy jewellery at a lower weight,” says Arun Narayan, VP – category, marketing and retail, Tanishq, Titan Company. The company has also witnessed traction for its lightweight diamond jewellery, priced below Rs 50,000.

Gold prices, which started climbing with the onset of 2020, went up to touch a record high of Rs 56,191 (per 10 gm) in August last year. The market, however, has recovered somewhat now and the price of the precious metal is hovering at around Rs 45,000 per 10 gm. Besides gold prices, factors such as a fall in discretionary spending by consumers as well as fewer occasions to wear jewellery have also affected sales. Weddings, for instance, contribute about 40-50% to jewellery sales in India, and the postponement of weddings or muted ceremonies last year impacted demand. Under these circumstances, consumers, brands say, have shifted to buying lightweight jewellery for gifting and daily-wear purposes.

Moreover, as these traditional retail players moved to online channels in the wake of the pandemic, lightweight jewellery became a key focus area. According to industry estimates, about 70-80% of jewellery bought online in India is priced below Rs 30,000.

“Consumers, who are new to the digital channel, often end up buying lightweight items while browsing through our platform,” says Saurabh Gadgil, MD and CEO, PNG Jewellers. About 10-15% of the company’s inventory presently is in the lightweight jewellery category. However, this is expected to contribute about a third of its sales, going forward.
The marketing strategy of these brands is also heavily inclined towards the digital channel. “For our bridal collection we would talk to the mother of the bride, but now we are targeting the millennials,” says Dipu Mehta, managing director, ORRA.

The company has roped in Disha Patani as brand ambassador to target young women and about 75% of its marketing budget would go towards digital marketing and outdoor media.

Though several start-ups such as Melorra, BlueStone and CaratLane have sprouted in the online segment recently, the channel commands less than 1-2% share in the jewellery market in India, as per industry estimates. Experts believe that established brands could have an edge in this market.

“Even for lightweight jewellery, consumers have to part with Rs 20,000-30,000 and hence, they are more likely to buy from a familiar brand as compared to newer entrants,” says Harminder Sahni, founder and MD, Wazir Advisors.
More challenges, however, may come from the design aspect as consumers who are buying at these price points might be more fashion-conscious rather than metal-conscious.

“The design for bridal jewellery, which is the stronghold of these established companies, has always been traditional,” says Pinakiranjan Mishra, sector leader – consumer products and retail, EY India. “As they target younger audiences now, brands will have to come up with contemporary designs frequently.”

Hence, non-precious or imitation jewellery, which is known to offer trendy designs at prices as low as Rs 500, could pose a threat to these companies as they tap the lightweight segment.

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