Demonetization will Prove to be a Boon: Vijay Jain

Mumbai: The Platinum Guild International (PGI) has predicted that Indian demand for platinum jewellery would grow by double digits next year and Japanese consumption will stay strong.

“In 2017, we’re expecting significant double-digit growth in India and reasonable growth in Japan. While gold is a low-margin business for Indian jewellers, retailers can scoop up returns of about 50% for platinum, ” said Mr. Huw Daniel, Chief Executive of PGI, an industry group funded by South African platinum producers and refiners.

We contacted Mr. Vijay Jain, CEO and Director of ORRA to find out progress of the Indian market of platinum jewellery. Indian jewelers are hit by cash crunch after the Government recently withdrew currency notes of Rs. 500 and 1000. As a result, the market is reeling under a wave of slowdown.

But Mr. Jain is quite optimistic about the revival of the platinum jewellery demand. He says, “With the government’s decision of demonetization, sales were expected to be slow, not only in the jewellery segment, but in the retail industry as a whole. While this means tremendous change for the unorganized players in the jewellery industry, for brands like ORRA, it spells as bright future in the years to come. The current slowdown however is due to the transition taking place in the market however, we expect sales to get back on track soon.”

“While for weddings per se, we see concerns with both dates and spends, we are pleasantly surprised over the robust growth of engagements. This is because as weddings are social in nature, engagements are more personal and a commitment to each other. It is a celebration between the couple and their immediate family. The preference of choice is love bands in platinum and what is interesting is that it is becoming a favorite not only amongst newly engaged couples, but also amongst those renewing the vows that they made to each other five or even ten years ago, therefore, in spite of the market slowdown currently, we are seeing a rising interest in this segment. Keeping this in mind, we saw it as the most opportune time to launch our new platinum love band collection ‘Infinity’. Styled around Greek symbolism, the collection comes studded with exquisite Belgian diamonds,” Mr. Jain adds.

Young Indians are now more keen on buying platinum either for themselves or as a gift, and that is “very different” to the traditional gold jewellery market in India.

Mr. Vijay Jain further says, “The wedding market is quite slow, but we are expecting this to turn around in the coming year. On the other hand, the sales for couple bands in platinum are helping us sustain and attract consumer attention.”

“The new collection with its exquisite designs has helped develop a renewed vigour in platinum amongst consumers. Being the first to introduce the Platinum Couples Collection of love bands, we are upbeat about the launch and continue to see a rising preference amongst couples more so the newly engaged couples. We are definitely seeing an off take in sales and are expecting this to pick up further during 2017.”

In reply to a question about the recent demonetization, Mr. Jain says, “Demonetization will actually prove to be a boon for organized jewellery retailers in the long on account of the transparency and trust that they have built over the years and will continue to offer.  Sales may be slower as compared to last year, but we do see recovery in the coming months.”

“Most organized jewellers are using this time of slowdown to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to play in the coming months. They would look at reviewing inventory with a sharp focus on the more accessible price points and designs as well as re-aligning their marketing spends with emphasis on the digital medium. In addition, they would also look at possible rationalization of their retails space with regards to stock,” he adds.