Ashutosh Sharma, MD, Shreem Jeweler says that even though people are not cutting down on wedding expenditure post gold price rise, the industry is definitely witnessing a drop in footfalls.
What is the typical timeframe for peak sales for jewellery?
India’s fashion industry always gears up before time for its prime time moment: the unfathomably large, opulent and over-the-top Indian wedding season. There are somewhere between one and ten million weddings in India each year. In fact last year a staggering 60,000 weddings took place in New Delhi alone. The trend noticed during that period is that would-be brides no longer wait and purchase their jewels at the end moment. They buy it at least two months in advance from the wedding date as basic preparations for the wedding start six months in advance, to ensure it’s a luxury bridal affair.
What are the new trends that were seen this wedding season?
Indian bridal jewellery trends keep changing year to year with changes in tastes and sensibilities of the brides themselves. Weddings are getting bigger, bolder and fatter. People today have an awareness of brands, even in Indian clothing, and amongst the middle class. They know what the celebs are wearing and they want to wear it too. This season, gold prevailed over diamonds and lighter jewellery sets were in vogue. Nevertheless, nothing matches the ethnicity and serenity of traditional jewellery like kundan, jadau and meenakari.
The most prevalent designs of the earlier days include motifs of elephants, peacocks, sunflowers, daisies, and the designs of striking flowers like Hyacinths are popular too. We have seen that newer innovation in jewellery has worked wonders for us. We have recently introduced the stone changeable jewellery sets which are in great demand as you can wear the set and match it with every attire to keep oneself stylish.
As a retailer, what new offers have you planned to attract more buyers?
Our stone changeable sets have been the bestsellers of the store. This set is a combination of gold, precious and semi precious stones. In the set, you can change the stone according to your attire and complete your look.
Our consumers are well travelled, well updated and adapting to the Western trend and design. Keeping this in mind, Shreem Jeweler have come up with a combination of both these worlds and launched their new line which is the Fusion Collection. This collection displays a mix of traditional designs along with contemporary design which fits in perfectly with the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and famous. Instead of heavy jewellery designs, a lot of modern brides prefer trendy sleek jewellery crafted in a unique way. There are some brides who now want customised jewellery. Every part of the jewellery can be customised, starting from the metal, stone color, size, cutting, finish, and of course the design itself.
What is your promotional strategy?
We have a few loyalty programmes currently active at the store. On purchase of any diamond jewellery, gold of the equivalent amount would be free and on gold jewellery, equivalent amount of silver would be free. We are also running a scheme wherein a customer pays 11 installments towards the purchase of a set from Shreem and we pay the last installment giving the customer a benefit of straight 15 percent off.
Can you please give an overview of the Indian gold jewelry market? What turnover do you expect to clock this season?
The single biggest part of the Indian wedding industry is the buying and selling of gold jewellery. India is one of the largest consumer of gold in the world and 50 percent of India’s gold demand can be attributed to weddings, which means more than 400 tonnes of gold is exchanged at weddings in India each year, making it the single largest component of the Indian wedding market, worth around USD 25 billion a year, about 60 percent of the total wedding market. The bride’s jewellery at an average high-end wedding in India will have pieces which are Rs 1, 50,000 to Rs 50, 00,000 each, with an overall budget of about 25, 00,000 spent on jewellery alone. We expect a hike in sales of around 40 percent this year.
Do you think the depreciating rupee will affect sales this wedding season?
Rising urbanisation has spawned a new class of consumers with more money to spend, and a passion for fashion. Even after this inflation has affected the industry as the rates of gold has soared in the recent weeks. Though people are not cutting down on wedding expenditure, we have seen a drop in footfalls.