The upcoming Diwali and Christmas season should witness a pick-up in demand for diamonds and jewellery after a protracted slack period, industry officials said at a diamond conference.

“Retail demand is certainly going to grow. It has been a bit slow but the Diwali season in India and Christmas overseas should see strong demand,” Mehul Choksi, Chairman and Managing Director, Gitanjali group, said on the sidelines of a diamond conference organised by Rapaport.

The third quarter of the financial year should see strong sales for the company, he said. According to him, the delay in Diwali festival should bring in latent demand. This year Diwali falls on November 13.

For the country’s diamond and jewellery industry, the festival season should augur well, according to Sanjay Kothari, Vice-Chairman, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

During the first quarter of the financial year, the industry’s cut and polished diamond exports fell by 25 per cent in rupee terms to Rs 21,902 crore, GJEPC data said.

Although a major spike in purchases is unlikely, some traction would help the industry which has seen slackness in offtake for the past few months.

In a bid to drive growth especially of diamonds the industry must focus on generic promotion of the same, Kothari told delegates to the conference.

Apart from factors such as high prices, low liquidity in the system a major challenge faced by the industry is the changing preference of consumers.

“Consumers will continue to buy the first jewellery product but we need them to go for the second jewellery purchase. In this we are seeing a downfall,” said Vasant Mehta, former Chairman, GJEPC.

At the second jewellery product purchase the competition from other goods especially electronic goods is immensely high, he said.

The global industry should sit together to work out a campaign to drive demand worldwide, Mehta said on the sidelines of the conference.

According to him, the second half of the year should see a much better demand scenario than the first half.

Shrenuj & Company is confident of a revival in demand at the wholesale level if not at the retail level.

The fact that the retail pipeline is empty gives hopes of some buying emerging at the B2B (business to business) level, said Vishal Doshi, Group Executive Director, Shrenuj.

(This article was published on August 30, 2012)
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