Gold prices may be taking the yellow metal farther from the common man, but Indians find ways to get closer. The industry has been witnessing trends that not only indicate a change in consumer preferences for gold jewellery, but also a shift in their priorities.
“India is the fourth largest consumer of gold in the world,” said Nitin Raj, chief marketing officer of stylemydiamonds.com, “and we’re heading further upward because we have an extremely large portion of our population getting ready for their marriage-age in the next three years.”
Purchases by Indians are usually driven by budgets. With a budget of Rs10,000, if one could buy six grams of gold three years ago, one will be able to buy less than four grams now, he added.
According to Revathi Kant, GM, design, innovation and development, at Tanishq, 35% of the revenue from gold jewellery were from bangles and 35% from neck pieces while earrings, finger rings and others make up the rest.
The share of type of jewellery hasn’t changed, but how consumers get it done has.
“Finding alternatives to work with the available budget is what makes Indians smart purchasers.
We’ve seen that preferences change when consumers compromise on weight and purity. For example, a mangalsutra of 10 grams that would have cost Rs10,000 five years ago is demanded at three grams. It looks the same, but is very thin,” Raj pointed out.
Design is increasingly becoming the driving factor over purity. “Customers are increasingly going for light-weight jewellery designs,” said Antony Chirayath, manager of Josco Jewellers.
The cost of jewellery at big, trusted brands are high, usually because of the marketing costs. So customers borrow designs from these brands and demand them from local jewellers or online stores, thus saving about 30% of the cost. But since many local jewellers are in the unorganised sector, the figures go unreported.
“Youngsters today believe in living it today. Many are now shifting from gold to utility goods and electronics that will benefit them in the short run. They’re fast paced and prefer change every day, so a large proportion of the youth prefers junk accessories and imitations that will maintain their style quotient without pinching their pocket,” observed Kushal Oswal, the owner of Mahendra Jewellers.
According to Kant, young, modern and progressive women of today look at gold more as an adornment factor than an investment.
“We conducted a research that pointed out how working women opt for contemporary designs and prefer versatile jewellery that are not just meant for Kanchipuram sarees,” she added. Kant also shared that innovations such as 3D models make jewellery affordable and also look heavy.
To Poonam Jain, a 23-year-old employee of KPMG, emphasis is not on 22-carat gold anymore.
“I’d rather go for a good design and get it made with nine or 14 carats. I also prefer junk accessories to gold because they are stylish and affordable.”