Corona hits India's fashion and jewellery markets, brands brace for impact

As the pandemic outbreaks, the fashion industry also prepares itself for the possible impact in the future.
Corona hits India's fashion and jewellery markets, brands brace for impact

The pandemic COVID-19 has not only affected people across the world but has also hurt businesses and commercial interests across the globe. The markets' volatility has created a phenomenon that is leading the global markets to crash and pushed economies on the verge of what can be seen as a great depression. Sectors such as production, manufacturing, power, energy, and retailers alike, everyone has been effected.

Though the situation in India isn't yet alarming, the govt. has shut down all businesses and commercial activities in order to prevent the situation from further escalation. In the same league, fashion industry has been affected. From wedding outfits and jewellery market to wedding planning, everything is badly impacted and therefore, will contribute to the market slump in the coming days.

Fashion sector suffers

As the pandemic outbreaks, the fashion industry also prepares itself for the possible impact in the future. The virus has a negative impact on the fashion industry in the midst of the fall 2020 fashion month season, is causing retailers to shutter their doors and postpone the upcoming shows. Ravi Gupta, who is the owner of Gargee Designer's, says, "The government of India should give exemption of all raw materials, dyes, and chemicals, intermediaries, spares, accessories, etc., from anti-dumping duty and basic customs duty. The government should also think about GST redemption and tax relaxation in various sectors."

Given the current situation, we must understand that the first priority has to be about controlling the pandemic. Public's efforts towards all precautionary measures such as 'janta curfew', 'social distancing' etc. are the most important at this moment. Next, the government should invite businesses from the fashion fraternity for a dialogue to assess the situation and damage control. In this moment of crisis, people are leaving their self-interests aside and showing solidarity with people that will be greatly affected by the situation.

Robby Rawat, founder of Fashion Is One (FIO), says, “The first priority is to lend support to the low-wage earners, artisans, craftsmen who are exposed to much bigger impact due to this lockdown situation. Then the government should also give assurance to the business sector to provide tax relief and ease down the trade business for some time. We are a big country and businesses small or big should strategize to cater to our domestic market. The focus should not be only on "Make in India" but also "Make for India".

Jewellery market jitters

Similarly, the jewellery retailers are also going through a push-and-pull situation at this moment of crisis. According to the industry, India's diamond and jewellery exports are likely to decline to a whopping 83 billion rupees or $1.18 billion making it to a 10-15% drop in this quarter. This may come as a shock for the diamond industry, which is already reeling under a liquidity crisis.

Saurabh A. Khandwal, director, Dhanvi Diamonds, shares, "We expected 2020 to be better, so we started it on a stronger note full of demand and production. However, in the past four weeks, things have changed because of the corona virus.” India's diamond industry is among the fastest-growing in the world and accounts for 70-75% of global diamond exports. Surat, India's diamond hub, employs nearly 850,000 people, making it the largest cutting hub by value and number of employees. In the country's export basket, diamonds are an important item, accounting for $9.3 billion annually.

With polished diamonds worth around Rs 50,000 crore being exported from Surat to Hong Kong every year, the disease’s outbreak will impact the Surat diamond industry which polishes 99 per cent of all rough diamonds imported in the country. Surat diamond industry is staring at a loss of around Rs 8,000 crore for February and March.

On the constantly unfolding situation, Bhuvan Goel, founder, S.KA Diamonds says, “The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus has impacted the Indian and global gems & jewellery market. If we look at the present statistics, the lockdown in the metropolitan has resulted in an additional loss of 5 percent in exports, besides a generally low demand due to economic slowdown. Also, as the outbreak has affected countries like Japan, China and South Korea, so there is a sharp fall in demand in the global market and impacted some export orders to these countries as well.

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