It’s been a cracker of a Diwali, and high gold rates didn’t dampen the shopping enthusiasm of customers across India. For the first time in almost 200 years, Dhanteras was spread across two days – giving customers more time to buy precious jewellery or make token purchases of gold or silver coins and idols. Solitaire International spoke to retailers across the country to gauge the pulse of the market.
Buying gold coins or jewellery set with any precious metal is considered auspicious on Dhanteras, to be blessed with prosperity and good fortune. This year, Dhanteras was celebrated over two days, and according to a rough estimate, consumers bought jewellery and coins worth ₹25,000 crores, noted Pankaj Arora, President, All India Jewelers and Goldsmiths Federation (AIJGF), an associate organisation of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Speaking to Solitaire, Arora remarked that as compared to last year, gold rates were ₹5,000 less at ₹50,000/10gms, and that boosted the buying sentiments across the country. He also cited that hallmarked jewellery and branded silver and gold coins pushed the consumer confidence and boosted sales.
Somasundaram PR, Regional CEO, India, World Gold Council, had predicted that factors appeared positive for robust gold demand this season, particularly for organised players. He added that the pick-up in rural demand will hold the key to surpass last year’s record quarterly demand. Somasundaram continued, “The seasonal spike at this time of the year rests more on a large number of weddings and post-harvest sentiment – which sounds positive following good monsoons. Seasonal gold demand therefore is poised to be strong on par with pre-covid levels, as suggested by anecdotal feedback from some jewellers. However, the current year does not have the benefit of a pent-up demand and higher savings caused by lock-down that assisted last year’s season to post a record demand. In addition, wallet squeeze due to inflation, hike in custom duty and depreciation in INR have all neutralised the impact of drop in global price, leaving gold prices hovering around ₹50,000/10 grams in India.”
Nearly all the retailers that Solitaire spoke to reported remarkable Dhanteras/Diwali sales – recording a jump of anywhere between 20% and 35% over the 2021 festive season.
Kumar Jain, the Head of the Zaveri Bazaar Jewellers Association, noted that on day one of Dhanteras, ₹15,000 crore of jewellery sales was reported across India. “The buying sentiments were exceptionally high with jewellery staying in focus.”
Diamonds, too, sparkled, this season. Amit Pratihari, Vice President, De Beers Forevermark, remarked, “The sales response was extremely strong this festive season. We saw a lot of walk-in clients on the auspicious day/s. All our partner retailers did good sales, which has set the momentum for the wedding season. We are expecting around 20-25% growth this year.”
Dr. Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman and Managing Director, PNG Jewellers, Maharashtra, said that Dhanteras, as expected, started with a bang. “At the start of the day, we have had a lot of customers coming in to pick up their pre-booked jewellery as well as bullion. We also saw a lot of off-the-shelf purchases happening on the two days. Bullion, both gold and silver, were clear winners since rates were favourable and the auspiciousness of the day has ensured that people pick up some coins and bars for investments. The two days of Dhanteras witnessed record-breaking sales this year – we achieve 30-35% more sales compared to last year not only in terms of volume but also in terms of value, making it a record-breaking Dhanteras.
Commenting about the Diwali sales, Sunil Nayak, CEO of Reliance Jewels said, “This year, Reliance Jewels saw a double-digit sale, with every region achieving their sales targets, resulting in a solid festive celebration. One of the major reasons to outshine this Diwali can be beholden to the multiple launches that brand focused on this year. The various design-led collections inspired by the art & culture of India that Reliance Jewels introduced were Utkala inspired by Odhisa, Kaasyam inspired by Banaaras, Rannkaar inspired by the Rann of Kutch and the most recent addition, Mahalaya inspired from Maharashtra. The upcoming wedding season, too, played a large role in the surge of sales, as it triggered consumers to buy more jewellery and not just gold but diamond pieces as well were well received. The festive season did bring in good news for us as we have witnessed strong Diwali sales for the year 2022 and have set a strong precedence for the next year.”
Shanker Maliram Kedia, Proprietor, Maliram Jewellers, Amritsar, said, “Dhanteras was fabulous for both our Amritsar and Jalandhar showrooms. Another element that contributed to good sales was the extended Dhanteras timings being 18:00 hours from 22nd October till 18:02 hours on 23rd October – it was a two-day benefit. We have seen a 15-20% sales jump with gold taking centre stage, but diamonds and polki jewellery also contributed to our success. The stores enjoyed sales of all bracket sizes from regular wear to the heavy bridal sets.”
Dhanteras for Sudeep Sethi, Owner, Zevar – By Sethis, Indore, outperformed his expectations. “In fact, the entire festive week was busy for us, starting from Karwa Chauth, Pushya Nakshatra and then Dhanteras. Our sales shot up by 50 percent as compared to last year. Fusion jewellery, bold earrings, flexible bracelets were top favourites. Gem-studded jewellery, in particular, did well, denoting the upbeat mood of clients.”
Ishu Datwani, Founder, Anmol, revealed that the run-up to Dhanteras and the two days of the auspicious occasion was fantastic.
“My conservative estimate is that we may have surpassed 25% increase in terms of sales, both in diamonds as well as gold jewellery. Surprisingly, big-ticket items worked better. And if we take the whole season into account, we should be able to register over 35% jump in sales.”
Vipul Ashtekar, Director, KRA Jewellers, Pune, said that they saw a spike of over 40% as compared to last year. “Silver coins and articles as well as small gold items sold as before, but what was surprising was that the heavy weight collections also performed well.”
Aditya Pethe, Director, Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers, (Maharashtra, Goa, Indore) revealed that sales were up by 25% versus last year, while Vaibhav Saraf, Director, Aisshpra Gems & Jewels, Uttar Pradesh, exclaimed that all their stores were working at peak capacity with waiting times exceeding 20 minutes per customer! “We are expecting a growth of around 15% compared to Dhanteras of the previous year.”
Kaushik Perla, Partner, Kameswari Jewellers, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, said, “The season kick-started well for us with the launch of our Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad outlet. All our stores witnessed excellent footfall and demand for bridal diamond jewellery and temple jewellery was strong. We have exceeded our sales targets for the festive season this year.”
Mohinder Pal Singh, Director, New Light Jewellers, Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, stated, “In comparison to last year, we accounted for an increase of 78% more sales than last Diwali. We sold more gold jewellery in comparison to diamond and polki jewellery. Majority of sales were within the price bracket of ₹2 to ₹3 lakhs.”
Dr. Renisha Chainani, Head of Research at refiner Augmont Gold For All, noted, “For ease of convenience and rapid digitisation, Millennials and Gen Z have been flocking towards Digital Gold for the last 3–4 years. There was fear and safe-haven demand for gold in the previous two years of Dhanteras-Diwali, as people lost lives and jobs during Covid times. But this year, people are very enthusiastic about festive celebrations, they have recovered their previous two-year losses, and they spent more on tangible assets this Dhanteras and Diwali.”
Prithviraj Kothari, Managing Director of Riddhi Siddhi Bullions Limited (RSBL), concluded, “Dhanteras has given more than a CAGR of 11% returns in the last 25 years. Though it has given only a 6% return this year to date in 2022, it is expected to give 12-15% returns by next year, as there would be a pause in interest rates around the world and investors will flock towards gold.”