No gold rush this Akshaya Tritiya with most jewellery stores shut

TE Raja Simhan | Sangeetha Chengappa Chennai/ Bengaluru | Updated on May 14, 2021

A closed jewellery showroom on Akshaya Tritiya day in Chennai   -  BIJOY GHOSH

Online sales lend some sparkle; big brands innovate with virtual views, gold certificates

Typically, there is a gold rush on Akshaya Tritiya, driven by the belief that buying the precious metal on this auspicious day brings prosperity. However, for the second consecutive year, jewellery stores across much of the country were shut, and it was a lustreless year in terms of sales for most retailers. But for big brands with an omnichannel strategy and online players there was some sparkle.

In 2019, nearly 35 tonnes of gold worth ₹17,000 crore were sold across India on Akshaya Tritiya day, according to industry estimates. Leading jewellers lament that only a fraction of that was sold in 2020 and 2021— a big loss for the industry.

Deserted jewellery hub

Chennai’s jewellery hub of T Nagar wore a deserted look on Friday as all shops were closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It was a similar scene in many parts of gold-consuming States, including Kerala.

“Nearly 15 per cent of the yearly turnover is lost because of this lockdown and down-shutters during Akshaya Tritiya,” said N Anantha Padmanaban of NAC Jewellers.

PR Somasundaram, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council, said with the uneasy air of fear that hangs, consumer sentiment has been muted.

Learning from their 2020 lockdown experience, many big branded jewellery chains have adopted digital and omnichannel strategies. Take Kalyan Jewellers, which said that while only 20 per cent of its showrooms were operational this year and traction was minimal, the innovative digital Gold Ownership Certificate launched last year saw movement.

Significantly, digital players were upbeat. Sachin Kothari, Director, Augmont, said compared to last year when Akshaya Tritiya sales were weak due to high gold prices, the national lockdown, delivery constraints and concerns over personal incomes, this year the demand has been robust. Compared to 2020, when they sold only 10 kg of gold, Kothari expects to sell 20 kg this year .

Gold prices, which had touched ₹58,000/10 gm in August 2020, are currently at ₹47,764, making it an attractive investment option. Saumya Sharma, a Delhi-based pharma professional, said she bought gold coins online from Tanishq., which saw a surge in pre-bookings leading up to Akshaya Tritiya, expects a 200 per cent increase in sales this year. “Thankfully, this time, we have been permitted to manufacture and ship to certain cities,” said Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, Founder-CEO.

Saroja Yeramilli, Founder-CEO of Melorra, which has launched a lightweight gold jewellery collection for Akshaya Tritiya, said the five-year-old company expects a 60x growth in sales as it is seeing massive demand.

Virtual views

With all its six stores shut, 150-year-old C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers is offering CKCLive, contactless shopping from 6am to 5pm with prior online booking and promotional offers on silver, gold and diamonds till May 31. Customers can virtually view before buying. “We have witnessed a 5x increase in online traffic, and a significant number of our special edition Akshaya Patra silver bowls (₹69,900, ₹99,900) with gold plated rice grains have sold quickly,” said Chaitanya V Cotha, Executive Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers.

Published on May 14, 2021

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