Covid-19 has upended many established practices. The auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya did not escape its clutches. The lockdown across the country to contain the virus meant no physical sales of gold on Sunday, a day — as legend has it — that will bring prosperity to those who buy the yellow metal. But some die-hard believers adapted to the situation and celebrated e-Akshaya Tritiya. They bought gold online but their numbers were miniscule.

Last year, nearly 35 tonnes of gold worth ₹17,000 crore were sold on Akshaya Tritiya. It is estimated that online sales this year could be just 3-4 per cent of last year’s numbers. The only consolation is , if one looks at just the online sales — it is expected to double this year.

On Akshaya Tritiya, people love to have gold in their hands. Online purchases rarely give such satisfaction to buyers (delivery happens once lockdown is lifted), said N Anantha Padmanaban of NAC Jewellers, a leading player. “For the first time in my life, there is no sale of gold in the shops,” said Padmanaban, who is also the chairman of All Indian Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council.

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Customer interest

Despite the ongoing uncertainty and anxiety due to the lockdown, customers have positively embraced e-AT with much vigour and enthusiasm, said Ajoy Chawla, CEO, Jewellery Division at Titan Company Ltd.

With all the 328 Tanishq stores remaining shut this year, it would be unfair to compare numbers with last year. But the overall customer response from key metros and even with tier-2 and tier-3 towns has been extremely encouraging, he said.

“We had close to one million visitors/browsers on our website indicating a lot of customer interest. Further, the ticket size online has jumped 2.5 to 3 times the usual online average ticket size, implying many new customers have come online,” he said. It is, however, not clear if the online purchase ofwill catch on with this experience.

“Unlike in the past, we did not have a full-fledged Akshaya Tritiya campaign. But given the limited time since the announcement of our ‘Gold Ownership Certificate’ offering, and the circumstances, we are expecting about 10 per cent of our usual Akshaya Tritiya sales, this year,” said TS Kalyanaraman, CMD, Kalyan Jewellers.