It was a glittering Wednesday for jewellery showrooms in Chennai and Mumbai, which saw high footfalls on Akshaya Tritiya – the day when Hindus and Jains buy gold or other assets as it is considered auspicious.

A public holiday due to Eid and pent up demand after two pandemic-hit years buoyed sales. Jayanthi Lal Challani of Challani Jewellery and President of the Jewellers and Diamond Traders’ Association, Chennai, said, “Sales have been nearly 25 per cent more than in 2019. This year, there was good demand for antique and temple jewels.”

Aditya Pethe, Director, WHP Jewellers, said this year's sales during Akshya Tritiya should be at least 25-30 per cent more than that witnessed in pre-pandemic years. N Anantha Padmanaban of NAC Jewellers went as far as to say sales were nearly 35 per cent more than in 2019.

Somasundaram PR, Regional CEO — India, World Gold Council, said after two lackluster years, the festive sentiment among traders and consumers appeared to be strong this year. Sustained aggressive marketing and trade promotions helped too.

Digital gold buying platforms were also upbeat, with small buyers enthusiastically picking up the convenience of purchasing gold for as little as one rupee on their smartphone, he said.

Discounts help

Despite gold prices hovering around ₹50,000 per 10 gram, there still was “heightened interest” among consumers in buying the metal. According to Somasundaram, this could be because of the perception of risks posed by inflation and global uncertainties caused by the Ukraine war on other asset class.

Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers, said, “The higher traction this Akshaya Tritiya could be owing to the lower volatility in gold prices over the past week and festival holiday on account of Ramzan. While an uptick in sales in the southern markets were expected, the response from the non-south markets have also been extremely encouraging,” he said.

Suvankar Sen, MD & CEO, Senco Gold and Diamonds, said sales have improved across bridal jewellery and light weight collections besides traditional gold bars, coins. Silver utensils were also making good sales impact.

“We are also offering discounts to encourage our customers. Customers can also visit our e-commerce site and buy jewellery through virtual connect and the products of their choice will be delivered at given address,” Sen said.

Shrey Mehta, Director, Pooja Diamonds, said: “As we specialise in bridal jewellery, we are witnessing a much heavier footfall for brides who are taking deliveries of their bridal jewels as it's an auspicious day, whereas brides are placing orders and picking up a token jewellery piece.” He said retail shopping has revived as anticipated, at least in the bridal space in spite of the speculations during the pandemic that online may evolve as a dominant shopping channel.

Pritam Patnaik, Head — Commodities, Axis Securities, said Akshaya Tritiya could have been a perfect time for investors looking for a window of opportunity to start investing in gold.

Prices under pressure

Gold prices have come under pressure as the US Federal Reserve looks almost certain to approve a 50-basis point rate hike at its May policy meeting on Wednesday, the highest hike in over two decades.

“One can look at investing a part of their allocation during the auspicious date and subsequently allocate the balance as and when prices dip, which will be around the dates of Fed policy rate announcements. A staggered approach to investing is the most prudent way forward for gold,” Patnaik said.