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Festive Season Sales Cause to Celebrate for Diamond Retailers
A buoyant festive season in India is making diamond jewellery retailers hope for a good 2011. Roli Gupta checks the mood in the market.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 13 2011 5:11PM
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Reference: 5648  

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It’s the season to be merry, or so a popular carol goes. For the Indian market in general, and the Indian jewellery industry in particular, the merriment is already well underway. A cracker of a Diwali season has given the diamond jewellery industry good reason to celebrate. Here’s a look at what was hot and what was not, what worked and what didn’t for a cross-section of retailers.

A huge increase from last year

Like the typical nightmare that is forgotten as soon as the sun rises, the recession which had 2008 and most of 2009 in its vice is almost gone. They may be characteristically (and understandably) tight-lipped about the actual sales figures, but on an average, diamond jewellers reported a massive 40% increase in sales from last year.

ANKIT KIMTEE
ANKIT KIMTEE
Says Ankit Kimtee, Director, Interstar Gems, Indore, “The consumer’s buying capacity in terms of volumes has definitely increased...so it does look like the recession is gone.” There is also a change in the buyer profile. Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra says, “Though we did not experience a sharp drop during the recession, there is a marked increase in the demand for diamond jewellery with younger buyers walking into the stores to purchase diamond jewellery.”

There is good reason why the customer is veering towards diamond jewellery...Mehul Choksi - Chairman & CEO, Gitanjali Group clarifies “The demand for jewellery in general increased because the festive season took place against the backdrop of a strong economic revival compared to the fears of a slowdown which dominated in the previous two years. Diamond jewellery segment did well for two reasons – the modern Indian consumer is showing a marked preference for well designed jewellery with a contemporary look, and opting for diamonds which are popular across the globe. The high price of gold has also made diamond jewellery (with lower total gold weight) a more attractive option.”

As Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, CKC, Bangalore explains, “The market is doing fairly well. The business this year was constant and of good quality. While the large impulse buys of 2007-2008 are missing, there is a healthy cash flow. This is definitely not a time for gimmicks, stability is the key word.”

Anil Talwar, Partner, Talwarsons Jewellers, Chandigarh offers yet another perspective...” The percentage growth in diamonds is more than that in gold. The prime reason is that diamond jewellery design is getting more and more innovative. More than 90% of the designs available are now very elite and diverse. The customer also looks for exclusivity.”

Vishal Doshi, Group Executive Director, Shrenuj and Company Ltd, Mumbai says, “The response has been overwhelming. Diamonds set in platinum, diamonds set in gold – both did exceedingly well.”

In fact, jewellers unanimously agree that while the mid range jewellery segment did well, the customer was truly out in droves buying high end jewellery with several jewellery sets worth more than 25 lakhs being hot sellers.

Efforts paying rich dividends

What’s heartening to note is that the industry’s efforts in promoting diamond jewellery have paid off well. Discounts, schemes, advertising spend, new offerings, innovative methods of publicity – all came together in a big way. Orra, for instance, every year offers free gold and silver coins along with discounts on making charges of 22kt BIS hallmarked gold jewellery. The Orra Crown Star (a 100 facet diamond as against the regular 57 facet diamond) was a new, hugely successful offering.

For Interstar, discounts and promotional schemes for solitaires worked well. Meanwhile, for Anmol jewellers, the store display and window dressing helped in attracting customers.

Shrenuj’s Doshi believes that, “When discounts are offered to the customer, she walks in to the store with a mindset of benefitting from some seasonal deals. So, the right sort of discount and promotional schemes play a vital part during the festive season. Of course new collections and breathtaking designs are what actually excite customers.

CKC offered a nominal 5% discount on jewellery for limited periods. However, Hayagriv offers a cautionary note especially against reckless and extraordinarily large discounts et al that can affect business adversely. “Festivals are, unfortunately, promoted heavily with discounts. We need to break this cycle otherwise the diamond business will get affected badly,” he says. “Maturity and patience are needed and quick money making will definitely dry up sustained growth. So as responsible jewellers we are desisting from too much discounting and hope this practice stops. We need to build the value proposition.”

As Anil Talwar puts it, “Talwarsons opted for a fairly big marketing budget, spent innovatively on hoardings and advertisements in leading fashion magazines and held a fashion show graced by celebrities which got very wide coverage in the media. We simply do not offer any discounts during the festive season. The word of mouth publicity that our products get is more important.” What is noteworthy is that the industry is holding on to the imaginative methods to promote jewellery and that these methods have been successful.

Gitanjali's leading brands participated in the special Samriddhi Festive Offer under the banner of the Leading Jewellers of the World. With a free gift of solitaire diamond jewellery on every piece of diamond jewellery above Rs. 15,000 purchased at participating outlets - there was a significant increase in sales with this promotion.

Diamond & Ruby collection from Reliance Jewels  - Copy
Diamond & Ruby collection from Reliance Jewels - Copy
Efforts paying rich dividends

What’s heartening to note is that the industry’s efforts in promoting diamond jewellery have paid off well. Discounts, schemes, advertising spend, new offerings, innovative methods of publicity – all came together in a big way. Orra, for instance, every year offers free gold and silver coins along with discounts on making charges of 22kt BIS hallmarked gold jewellery. The Orra Crown Star (a 100 facet diamond as against the regular 57 facet diamond) was a new, hugely successful offering.

For Interstar, discounts and promotional schemes for solitaires worked well. Meanwhile, for Anmol jewellers, the store display and window dressing helped in attracting customers.

Shrenuj’s Doshi believes that, “When discounts are offered to the customer, she walks in to the store with a mindset of benefitting from some seasonal deals. So, the right sort of discount and promotional schemes play a vital part during the festive season. Of course new collections and breathtaking designs are what actually excite customers.

CKC offered a nominal 5% discount on jewellery for limited periods. However, Hayagriv offers a cautionary note especially against reckless and extraordinarily large discounts et al that can affect business adversely. “Festivals are, unfortunately, promoted heavily with discounts. We need to break this cycle otherwise the diamond business will get affected badly,” he says. “Maturity and patience are needed and quick money making will definitely dry up sustained growth. So as responsible jewellers we are desisting from too much discounting and hope this practice stops. We need to build the value proposition.”

As Anil Talwar puts it, “Talwarsons opted for a fairly big marketing budget, spent innovatively on hoardings and advertisements in leading fashion magazines and held a fashion show graced by celebrities which got very wide coverage in the media. We simply do not offer any discounts during the festive season. The word of mouth publicity that our products get is more important.” What is noteworthy is that the industry is holding on to the imaginative methods to promote jewellery and that these methods have been successful.

Gitanjali's leading brands participated in the special Samriddhi Festive Offer under the banner of the Leading Jewellers of the World. With a free gift of solitaire diamond jewellery on every piece of diamond jewellery above Rs. 15,000 purchased at participating outlets - there was a significant increase in sales with this promotion.

Quotes:

Ankit Kimtee, Director, Interstar Gems, Indore - The consumer’s buying capacity in terms of volumes has definitely increased...so it does look like the recession is gone.

Anil Talwar, Partner, Talwarsons Jewellers, Chandigarh - Diamond jewellery design is getting more and more innovative. More than 90% of the designs available are now very elite and diverse.

Ishu Datwani, Partner, Anmol Jewellers - Besides the floral design which remained a popular buy, diamonds with coloured gemstones were a big hit. Uncut diamonds held their sway over the customer too.

Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra - Solitaires were the best performing category this season.

Vishal Doshi, Group Executive Director, Shrenuj - Dainty looking jewellery was very well appreciated by our customers...

Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, CKC, Bangalore - While the large impulsive buys of 2007-2008 are missing, there is a healthy cash flow. This is definitely not a time for gimmicks.

Mehul Choksi, Chairman and CEO, Gitanjali Group - There was a significant increase in sales with the special Samriddhi Festive Offer.

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