Be it Holi, Navratri or any festival, the pandemic has changed the way Indians celebrate their festivals and even weddings
Wondering how to buy gold and fashion jewellery this festive season? Jewellery purchases are now soaring, jewellery designers are on their toes with the uptick in demand and most of the purchases are happening online or through social media platforms!
Be it Holi, Navratri or any festival, the pandemic has changed the way Indians celebrate their festivals and even weddings. From contactless and virtual shopping to online gifting, a striking aspect pertains to how jewellery is still a favourite with Indian families and continues to be purchased by them through online and social media shopping.
Demand for jewellery on a high this festive season
Heading a 150 year old heritage jewellery house that has etched its brand name in almost every household, Dr C Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group Of Jewellers, knows exactly what today’s ‘next gen’ wants as easily as he understands the preferences of families planning to buy gold jewellery for an upcoming festivity or a family wedding.
Dr C Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group Of Jewellers, reaffirms that jewellery buying remains robust in India and that even the pandemic has not been able to dent this demand. “I have no doubt. This year could easily rank as the best Diwali of the last 3 years or more,” Dr. C Vinod Hayagriv informs FinancialExpress.com as he shares key insights.
The 150 year old heritage jewellery house has recently released ‘Trishakti Samooha’, which has been inspired from the Rig Veda, written by VAK.
“We respect the meaning and we take efforts to educate our next generation, the generation X, with wall panel oil paintings embellished with gold, silver, diamond and gemstones to artefacts that are a thing of beauty as well as inspirational divine creations that will enrich a home and office. Any living spaces,” Hayagriv explains.
With regard to the digital boom and online shopping on the rise, what are the key trends across cities and demographics during this festive season amidst the pandemic and how different is it from the pre-pandemic period?
A large change from pre pandemic time is clear. What was then the “young and tech savvy professional” is now common with most housewives, non tech professionals, businesswomen (and men), who all seem to easily use online shopping, video based buying and surprisingly are also instagram and other social media buyers, not just users. They conveniently shop on social media, not only on our websites. This would have taken years if not for the lockdowns.
Has there been a paradigm shift from cash payments to online payments?
The requests for cash buying have almost disappeared. We see that those who were erstwhile “cash” clients, even for below Rs 2 lakh purchases, tell us that their businesses have also come with banked payment systems and hence they are more comfortable not handling physical cash.
Even small business owners, as well as large business owners are making large payments through bank transfers. Even politicians are now doing bank transfers.
What they actually wish is higher limits on credit cards as they at times are finding it inconvenient to split payments on multiple credit cards, using part by credit cards and part by bank transfers which actually delay delivery of jewellery.
There appears a need for higher credit card limits for the average card holder.
Are there specific categories in your inventory that have seen a significant rise in terms of sales?
Not really. With a diverse client base, we do not see any difference or shift in purchases of any segment. Gold, diamonds and silver are all in the similar ratios as earlier. If at all, there has been a shortage of solitaires compared to demand, that shows a larger requirement of diamond solitaires. Solitaires over 1/4 CT each in size.
With online weddings and online gift pickups gaining momentum, can you share what category of jewellery is still a preferred gifting option and where you are seeing a spike in demand?
Weddings online or offline, large gatherings or small, the spend on jewellery is seen as being equally important. We are seeing an uptick, upto 65% increase in sales compared to pre pandemic. Hence if any, it appears that buying is healthy. We are actually unable to keep our inventory full, due to more sales than production.
Production delays due to COVID protocols, testing, vaccination and Hallmarking backlogs are causing difficulties in stocking in time. In fact, we wrote to all our clients recently that our custom orders have been delayed with only 54% being on-time deliveries, much against our wishes, due to the above reasons.
We hope to overcome this in the next few weeks.
External challenges due to hallmarking delays need to be sorted out as soon as possible. We wish to have our own (captive) Hallmarking licences which the ministry of consumer affairs is yet to decide.
Is daily wear accessories and kids’ wear catching on in terms of momentum?
We have increased youthful jewellery. Of recent times our focus has moved to today’s next gen, who have very different lingo compared to earlier. Even a Mickey mouse is replaced by Anna, Elsa, Tiana, and such. We are yet to unravel these collections as production and design is slow when it comes to creating new characters.
Tell us more about the rate protection plan and how it benefits those with limited budgets.
The Rate Protection Plan was started by C. Krishniah Chetty in the early 1990s. It was an outcome of true listening to our clients. Over the last 30 years, what was a simple savings or instalment plan has matured into a reliable, robust wish list fulfilled plan.
The advantages are as follows:
A. Rates of gold, silver, platinum and diamonds are blocked giving the client a choice to decide what to buy at the end of 11 months.
B. The Krishniah Chetty Rate Protection Plan is copyrighted and trademarked which is unique to CKC.
C. The client gets lower of the metal or diamond rates as averaged or date of billing. That is a protection from uncertainty of rates.
D. For all on-time payments made, clients receive a bonus equivalent to 10% of the instalments paid. This encourages regular payments to help derive maximum benefit on maturity.
E. Several little surprises for birthdays make it a happy savings.
F. If the client buys various items like from the gold and diamond segments the system automates the maximum benefit passed to the client.
G. At C. Krishniah Chetty clients may also use their other promotional benefits that makes their cost of acquisition very low. Our goal has been to reduce the cost of ownership for our clients.
Such very consumer oriented benefits make the Rate Protection unique.
From your direct and overall experience, how do you view the Indian customer’s fast changing preferences in jewellery during the pandemic?
By and large they are hungry for unique styling and concepts. The story is what they most look put for. Although this is not new, it’s getting more challenging due to social media which makes the consumer aware of worldwide styles, and they look for that or better with us. Our designers are a busy lot.