NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding the ongoing economic slowdown, attractive offers and discounts ahead of Diwali seem to have added sheen to the yellow metal with jewellers witnessing robust footfall on Dhanteras.
Even as soaring gold prices acted as a headwind, jewellers say they are confident of posting higher volumes during the last quarter too amid a boost in buying sentiment and a relatively longer wedding season this year.
“We have seen a 30-40 per cent surge in demand of jewellery ahead of Diwali as compared to the previous months, with lightweight and diamond jewellery being the flavour of the season,” Suvankar Sen, executive director, Senco Gold and Diamonds. Sales, however, is down 10 per cent year-on-year, which we expect to shore up in the coming days, he added.
An overall wait-and-watch consumer sentiment, underpinned by a life-time high gold prices in rupee terms, has been reported across regions. A gram (22 carat) gold which on October 25 last year was Rs. 3,269 went on to touch a new high of Rs 3,953 on September 19 and dropped to Rs 3,722 on October 1 but further rose to Rs 3,924 in the national capital on Friday.
PR Somasundaram, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council said the sharp rise in the gold price impacted trade and the consumer outlook in the third quarter, however, Dhanteras seems to have changed this as had been expected. “Buying has resumed in a big way compared with the start of the season despite stiff prices. A long wedding season may further buoy buying in the last quarter of the year, he added. The precious metal has given a return of 21 per cent from last year to this day on Dhanteras and greater awareness among consumers of long term price trends is also supporting the buying.
Retailers, meanwhile, are wooing customers with deep discounts. For instance, Senco has announced a mega Diwali offers, which includes assured three times silver free on buying gold, assured Gold free on buying diamond and 20 per cent discount on making charges of platinum jewellery. Similarly, Tanishq is offering up to 25 per cent discount on gold jewellery making charges, while customers can avail a discount of Rs. 1,000 on purchase of every 8 gram of gold jewellery from Kalyan Jewellers and free gold coins on purchase of studded jewellery.
“Growth has been muted so far but we have seen an upsurge in our business since the last five days and the growth is back on target. This year we have opened quite a good amount of stores and we are looking forward to seeing new walk-ins from new as well as from our existing stores,” said Sandeep Kulhalli, senior vice-president, retail and marketing, jewellery division, Titan Company Limited.
N Anantha Padmanaban, chairman of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council, however, pointed out gold sales in the run up to the festival were down about 40 per cent from last year, although “we hope we can narrow this drop on Dhanteras and end the day only about 20 per cent lower from last year.”