Dr. Saurabh Gadgil, Chairman and Managing Director, PNG Jewellers, Maharashtra, talks about his company’s sourcing requirements and predicts the future of the industry in the near future.
Are you happy to visit IIJS Premiere in Bengaluru?
First, we are happy that IIJS 2021 is happening in its physical version. Maharashtra, as we all know, is still in the middle of recovery from the second wave. Therefore, the next logical choice is Bengaluru. Covid cases in the state of Karnataka are very low compared to other states.
Second, the four states of South India account for nearly 35% of overall India consumption with respect to the jewellery sector. Hence, it would be easier for businesses from the Southern states to visit the exhibition. Besides, what I have come to understand is that the Bengaluru Exhibition Centre is a huge, sprawling complex, which will allow for Covid-appropriate protocols to be followed. As we know, the Nesco centre in Mumbai is currently converted into a Covid-19 centre and it was only logical to move the event to a new venue. All in all, it’s a good step forward to ensure that business is conducted in a modern, convenient and safe environment.
What are you planning to source at the show?
As always, the show will display new designs in gold, diamond, silver and coloured stone jewellery. We are keen to look at all the categories and source the best from across the country for our customers. The event is slated right before the festive season, and Navratri starts on the 5th of October. Our team will do a lot of festive buying in all categories of gold such as earrings, pendants, mangalsutras, etc. In diamonds, we are keen to source lightweight jewellry, new designs, and heavy bridal jewellery. Our marketing team is excited to participate in the knowledge sharing forums to learn more about the current and future trends in the industry.
What percentage of your annual sourcing requirements do IIJS Signature and IIJS Premiere account for?
This year, our purchasing at IIJS will be more than usual since it is happening right before the festive season, which is almost 1/3rd of the entire year’s purchase. So we expect to buy around 35% of our annual requirements at IIJS events this year. The scale of our buying will also depend on the new trends emerging at IIJS, as they will bear a huge impact over the next six months of business for the festive season.
Keeping the gold price in mind, will you look to source more lightweight items this time?
The focus will certainly be on lightweight jewellery as that is moving really fast. Gold prices are still around the Rs.48,000- Rs.49,000 mark, so there is certainly some pressure on that end, which, in turn, is driving an increase in demand for lightweight jewellery. With the festive and wedding season coming up, we are also interested in sourcing heavy weight, bridal jewellery. We estimate 60% in lightweight jewellery purchases and 40% in heavy bridal jewellery like bridal sets, long necklaces, haars, bridal kadas, etc.
What jewellery are your retail customers looking for these days?
Lightweight jewellery is a clear winner. There are multiple considerations for it today, customers are making ‘happiness’ purchases, which means making purchases to feel happy about oneself by virtue of coming out of Covid, purchasing on impulse, etc. There is also a spurt in spontaneous/surprise gifting in the lightweight category amongst our customers.
What is your outlook for jewellery retail sales in 2021?
Market will get more organised in the next six months with HUID and other initiatives. Business will become more transparent; stronger systems and processes will provide better quality to the customer. The overall number of players will shrink and with that, the pressure on pricing discounts will go down. The focus shall once again come back on quality, variety in designs, transparency and good practices. Retailers can look at better margins and a more organised market in the year 2021-22. The worst is behind us and we are looking forward to good times ahead!