No other gemstone evokes the emotion of love and a sense of commitment like the diamond. This year, as the world battled with an unusual virus, the diamond industry collectively came to a halt for some time – miners stopped mining; and later, offered the flexibility to buy rough as per clients’ needs; India voluntarily banned the import of rough to clear the pipeline – and all of this kept the prices of polished to a near-stable level.
Diamonds have fascinated mankind since aeons and these radiant gifts of Nature have rightly come to symbolise eternal love and strong bonds. But what about the consumer sentiment towards diamonds? At the recently concluded India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) Virtual, retailers were stocking diamond and gold jewellery for the upcoming festive and wedding season. It is estimated that around Rs. 1000 crore business was transacted at IIJS Virtual.
Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, said, “In India, sales would be driven by factors like postponed engagements and marriages, festivities and other gifting occasions. Moreover, consumers now have disposable income, which was earlier spent on travelling and vacations. Some of this will get diverted to jewellery.”
Sanjay Shah, Convener, Diamond Panel, GJEPC, said, “We are expecting a rise in demand for diamond jewellery in Q4 for the celebratory occasions. Retailers are anticipating that consumers will want to buy diamond jewellery which is unique and can be worn for multiple events.”
Milan Chokshi, Convener, Promotions & Marketing, GJEPC, found it safe to presume that there is massive pent-up, need-based demand. “Consumers have several occasions and festivals coming up. Since the pandemic may have changed consumer behaviour, we anticipate they will be more conscious in their spending. Moreover, gold and diamonds have displayed their price resilience and inherent value as opposed to other luxury and discretionary products,” he pointed out.
At the recently held ninth online Forevermark Forum, the company shared some heartening results of a research undertaken to assess the mood of the buyer. It revealed that while Indian consumers are cautious about their spending, they have very strong appreciation for diamonds. The company has operated at around 70% of its budgets between June and July, which is a fair revival post-lockdown. This September, Forevermark unveiled two product lines with a campaign that underlined that seasons change but a diamond is forever and a symbol of continued success. It is confident these activities will propel stronger sales for its 100-odd Indian partners.
“We are extremely positive on the future and revival of the diamond industry. The demand will definitely double in the next 4-5 years. In fact, in the post-Covid world, real meaningful things will take precedence where jewellery is the preferred gifting option. Consumers are looking at fewer but better pieces and natural diamonds hold value. We will see a rise in sales in the near future,” said an optimistic Sachin Jain, President, Forevermark.
The trends that are emerging in the domestic market are signalling that there could be an explosion of demand for diamond jewellery in the daily wear segment, as the future belongs to the younger generation and design sensibilities are getting minimalistic. Stacking is a rage as women are opting to accessorise with layers of slim, diamond-studded rings.
Retailers are also happy to cash in on the surge in demand for diamond-studded jewellery in the bridal segment for the upcoming wedding season. Layering chokers with lariats or modular options indicate that young brides are practical and want jewellery that can be worn on other occasions as well.
Ajoy Chawla, CEO, Jewellery Division, Titan Company, said that Tanishq is seeing 85% recovery over last year at an overall level and more than 70% recovery on buyer level. Happy with the sales recovery, he believes things will improve.
“Wedding-related sales in this fiscal’s Q3 and Q4 quarters would be a good opportunity to see a rebound in diamond-studded and overall jewellery sales. The prime drivers for a full normalcy will include an improvement in overall consumer sentiment – perhaps as a result of vaccine-development, with a couple of quarters of GDP growth basis a general return to normalisation of economic activity,” Chawla noted.
Suvankar Sen, Executive Director, Senco Gold Ltd., comments, “Consumer sentiments towards diamonds are picking up with time. Initially, it was more of gold but as we move into the festive season, women will look forward to buying diamonds to get out of their anxiety. Both pret wear or bridal, increasing gold prices makes diamond jewellery in 14 -karat more affordable.”
The notion that gold is a safe investment even during the shakiest of economies is true. But Sunil Datwani, Owner, Gehna, reveals that what is truly encouraging for our trade is that purchases of fine jewellery––with diamonds, in particular––have risen rather unexpectedly this year. “Though during the earlier months of the coronavirus surge, fine jewellery sales dipped, they bounced back around August and quickly gained momentum. The higher income group is sitting on unspent income as travel has taken a beating; weddings have become smaller and the savings rate is very high right now. We are already seeing a pent-up demand for bridal jewellery and since the customers are doing the groundwork and then coming to the store, we are seeing much higher conversion rates for diamond jewellery.”
Richa Singh, Managing Director, National Diamond Council, adds, “Consumers are choosing fewer but better things. They will look for heirloom pieces to pass on, and natural diamond jewellery is the perfect way to do that,” she opined, adding that the industry should attempt to stay relevant by creating content with the right mix of emotion and education.