The long phase of almost nine months of the prevailing pandemic has adversely affected the growth of platinum jewellery sales globally including India. Now, to the greater sigh of relief for the retailers and platinum jewellery lovers, the market has started recovering and achieving the pre-pandemic level of sales, thanks to the onslaught of festive and wedding seasons.
G2J approached Ms. Vaishali Banerjee, the dynamic Managing Director of the PGI (India) to assess the platinum jewellery market scenario in India. Here are the excerpts:
How is the post recovery of platinum sales? Any benefits of high volatility in gold prices? Any special incentives for the festive season…
Vaishali: As we step out to reclaim our lives, surely the spending will be more deliberate and mindful. We don’t see it completely curtailed but consumers would look at purposeful consumption. The pandemic has made us more conscious and aware and hence we will be drawn towards experiences that reflect our values. Hence, this festive season will be different from what we have experienced so far. We foresee a positive outlook as people will lean towards precious jewellery to mark milestones and important occasions for their loved ones. These months of uncertainty have brought about a renewed sense of belonging, gratitude, and appreciation to cherish what truly matters. Each piece of platinum jewellery has a meaning to it, it has a story to tell and it elicits a deep emotion that feeds in beautifully to the needs of expressing love that consumers would be looking for.
When purchasing a piece of jewellery for yourself or a loved one, you want to choose the best piece – it’s something that symbolizes a relationship that will endure or a special moment in your life. Platinum is 30 times rarer than gold, is naturally white and will endure many lifetimes. This has been appreciated by our younger audiences and hence it has become their metal of choice. This coupled with the favourable pricing has made platinum an attractive consideration, especially in the current scenario. It’s a great opportunity for the consumers to purchase a valuable piece of jewellery that’s rare and meaningful.
Furthermore, as we move towards unlock phases, we continue to witness a strong come back for platinum. Our key retail partners are reporting a recovery of almost +60% growth and some even higher. This gives us a great sense of reassurance for the coming quarter as we step into the festive season. Taking this opportunity forward, we have several engagement initiatives and campaigns coming up for consumers as well as our robust network of retail partners. The focus will be to drive awareness and aspiration for the metal while continuing to position it as a rare precious metal of high quality and value. We have also launched a 360-degree program for Season of Hope campaign which is led by a new brand film and supported by a robust communication plan that includes TV, Cinema, Print, Digital, OOH and PR across markets to ensure high reach and frequency. The “Season of Hope” TVC is a 40-second brand film that focuses on the importance of meaningful gestures to celebrate rare bonds and is an ode to life’s poignant moments. This will be supported by engaging and relevant branded storytelling and marketing campaigns across all 3 of our platinum brands – Platinum Days of Love (PDOL) offering platinum Love Bands for couples, Platinum Evara – trousseau jewellery for the modern bride as well as Men of Platinum – offering specially crafted platinum jewellery for Indian men. We are also launching our unique retail initiative – Season of Hope and partnered with Oxfam India, to make platinum jewellery purchase more meaningful this festive season.
What makes this rare metal a favourite amongst the younger generation? Which factors are leading to the increased number of millennials purchasing platinum?
Vaishali: In the present times, as COVID-19 continues to impact lives around the world, it has also influenced consumer buying behavior. Our recently conducted Global Survey shows us that when it comes to the consumer sentiment towards the category, of course, it has been impacted.
However, our consumer being younger is more optimistic and resilient. The insights indicate that consumers will lean towards what delivers value and has meaning. Jewellery will be a means of positive reinforcement as they step out to reclaim their life and seek to mark meaningful relationships and milestones. In this context, the platinum branded categories are perfectly poised to fit into this space as we have always stood for an affirmation of love, life and relationships.
Consumers are longing for a wholesome experience that adds meaning and more value during these challenging times. Hence, platinum’s intrinsic rarity combined with its modern and progressive value system appeals to millennials as it is in sync with their individualistic beliefs and values. Platinum is a rare precious metal, has always stood for moments of emotional significance is best poised to fit the need to mark the relationships & values that matter as we transit from one phase to another. Platinum’s distinctive design philosophy not only makes each piece stunning and unique, but its minimalist narrative makes it extremely versatile and aesthetically appealing as well. This is another aspect that attracts the younger generation as they are more conscious of their choices and are keen on purchasing jewellery that is of emotional meaning to them, and not something to keep in their lockers. The need to make a subtle yet significant statement without being too ostentatious as well as mark intimate personal and professional milestones have made the exquisite white metal a favourite amongst the younger generation.
To provide a seamless experience for our core target audience, our marketing and communications campaigns have always been strategically focused on digital and social media platforms as this is the preferred platform for them and will also be a more active part of the future as far as retail is concerned. Right from building for more active participation in e-commerce to working towards creating a strong B2B platform to facilitate better trade interactions & order fulfilling mechanisms all is being pursued.
How platinum has evolved as an important element in emotional milestone?
Vaishali: When purchasing a piece of jewellery for yourself or a loved one, you want to choose the best – something that symbolizes your relationship together. The timeless qualities, together with the allure of the metal continue to drive aspiration for the precious metal. Our insights have indicated that platinum is a natural choice for jewellery and holds a special place and meaning in a consumer’s life. Consumers, especially the younger generation are keen to mark special moments in their lives – be it their professional achievements, intimate milestones in their relationship journey, or gifting a loved one as an expression of gratitude and appreciation. Also, consumers today are discerning, well-aware of international trends and hence have learned to appreciate the intrinsic value that the metal brings to their lives. It feeds into their needs of modernity, progressive beliefs as well as rarity and authenticity. With changing times, jewellery is not only about security and investment; it is more about emotional significance and a reflection of their self-image.
Throw some light on PGI’s partnership with OXFAM
Vaishali: The COVID19 situation has caused unprecedented challenges in India as well as globally and has left many reeling from its impact. It has been particularly harsh on certain marginalized sections of our community such as the migrant workers. Oxfam is much renowned & reputed in the arena of social work, and in association with Oxfam, we are contributing towards their support programmes & donating to uplift the lives of migrant workers to bring a ray of hope to them as we assist them in rebuilding their lives. It was in fact this cause and purpose that was at the heart of us calling our upcoming initiative the ‘Season of Hope’.
This initiative will impact 4500 families, approximately 22,500 individuals over a period of 3 months. The relief package includes 3 key components daily meals/food essentials, sanitary kits as well as a direct transfer component for essential non-food supplies. It will touch lives in states where the impact of the pandemic has been brutal combined with natural calamities that followed i.e. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha & Bihar. With this initiative, the aim is to bring a bit of hope back where it is needed most. This pandemic has taught us to be grateful and has brought about a renewed sense of appreciation. Season of Hope aims to spread that sense of thankfulness, going back to the values & emotions that spark a sense of optimism, and is an effort to assure hope to those who need it the most.
Interview by Suresh Chotai