New York-based diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky shines a spotlight on the evolving global jewellery landscape, where India is expected to play a pivotal role, emerging as a transformative force and ascendant influence, contrasting the trajectories of China and the U.S.
Indian luxury conglomerate, Titan Company, grew its jewellery sales by 22% to approximately $1.35 billion during its most recently concluded fiscal quarter ending in June. As a proxy for Indian diamond and jewellery demand, the results stand in contrast to the industry’s other key markets, particularly the U.S. and China.
In the U.S., the consumer market for jewellery has been somewhat sluggish this year, especially in the lower and middle market, as tighter economic policy and a return to “experiential” spending has driven a hangover in jewellery demand following a generationally robust 2021-2022 period.
In China, a highly anticipated rebound in consumerism following strict pandemic-related lockdown measures last year has yet to play out.
For context, the U.S., China and India are currently estimated to represent about half, 15-20% and 5-10%, respectively, of global diamond jewellery demand.
In more general jewellery terms (i.e. including non-diamond jewellery), China and India are estimated represent a larger relative share of global demand given their appetite for gold jewellery. However, China’s Chow Tai Fook for example, recently said that it will be “enhancing the promotion of diamonds” going forward in an effort to boost profit margins—historically, as much as three-quarters of the company’s sales have come from gold jewellery.
From the standpoint of gross domestic product (GDP), an average of forecasts from the IMF, OECD and World Bank, point to the Indian economy growing at just over 6.5% next calendar year, which compares to under 1% in the U.S. and 4.8% in China.
While China’s economic system doesn’t necessarily allow for a completely relative comparison of economic growth (using GDP as a measure), the nation’s economy is undoubtedly slowing, especially compared to the trailing 25-year average. For context, China has represented upwards of 40% of the world’s total economic growth over the last quarter century.
Both China and India host populations in excess of 1 billion, both have burgeoning middle classes, and both will likely remain the world’s largest fast-growing economies through at least the end of the decade.
However, into the medium-term, China is likely to continue battling the economic consequences of its one-child policy which ran from about 1980 to 2015 as well as other structural challenges as it attempts to transition into more of a service economy in the face of de-globalisation.
While India hosts challenges of its own, the nation is positioned to be the world’s single fastest growing large economy through at least the mid-century.
Consequently, Titan is aiming to grow its jewellery business by some 2,500% by the end of the decade fuelled by an aggressive store expansion plan, which would put locations across the country’s top 300 cities.
For context, with its current fleet of some 800 stores, including banners such as Tanishq, CaratLane, Zoya and Mia, Titan generated almost $4.5 billion in jewellery sales in the fiscal year ended March.
Just in recent days, Titan acquired an additional 27% of the aforementioned Indian e-comm jeweller CaratLane at an estimated $2 billion valuation – which appears to be a relatively rich 6.5-times last year’s sales. That said, the valuation provides insight into management’s expectation for future growth. In the last fiscal year CaratLane grew sales by 70% year-over-year.
Interestingly, Titan has also noted that it also sees expansion opportunity beyond India, in markets such the U.S., as Indian diaspora grows (see above image of the first Tanishq store in the U.S. which is located in the state of New Jersey).
Worthy of note, out of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., around 25 are run by Indian-born CEOs. Further, Indian immigrants represent the largest portion of high-paying Silicon Valley’s non-U.S.-born workforce.
Paul Zimnisky, CFA is a leading independent diamond industry analyst and consultant based in the New York metro area. For regular in-depth analysis of the diamond industry please consider subscribing to his State of the Diamond Market, a leading monthly industry report; an index of previous editions can be found here. Also, listen to the Paul Zimnisky Diamond Analytics Podcast on iTunes or Spotify. Paul is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business with a B.S. in finance and he is a CFA charterholder. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @paulzimnisky.
Disclosure: At the time of writing Paul Zimnisky held a long equity position in Lucara Diamond Corp, Brilliant Earth Group, Star Diamond Corp, Newmont Corp and Barrick Gold Corp. Paul is an independent board member of Lipari Diamond Mines, a privately-held Canadian company with an operating mine in Brazil and a development-stage asset in Angola. Please read full disclosure at www.paulzimnisky.com