NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Regaining the lost sheen, sales of gold jewellery and coins are set to touch pre-COVID levels in volume terms on the auspicious Dhanteras as easing pandemic concerns and pent up demand saw consumers flocking to stores to buy the precious metal.
Increased footfall at stores and brisk sales online as well as relatively softer gold prices compared to record Rs 57,000 per 10 grams level in August spurred increased buying, especially light weight offerings, on Tuesday.
Dhanteras is considered to be auspicious for buying precious metals and other valuable items.
On Tuesday, gold prices were ruling lower in the range of Rs 47,644 per 10 grams, excluding taxes, in the national capital, compared to a record level of over Rs 57,000 in August.
However, the rates are much higher compared to Rs 39,240 per 10 grams on Dhanteras day in 2020.
"We expect volumes to be at par (compared to pre-COVID levels) as the rates have gone up from 2019. In value terms, we expect 20 per cent growth from 2019 level," All India Gem And Jewellery Domestic Council Chairman Ashish Pethe told PTI.
Jewellers saw consumers returning to offline shopping as footfalls increased by 40 per cent when compared to the year-ago period.
Normally, 20-30 tonnes of gold are sold on a Dhanteras day and this year, the volumes are expected to be slightly higher, according to industry players.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said the jewellery industry has emerged from a slump that was caused due to the pandemic.
"Sales across the country happened to the tune of almost Rs 75,000 crore...Around 15 tonnes of gold jewellery were sold across the country on Dhanteras today," it said.
This includes an estimated sales worth Rs 1,000 crore in Delhi, around Rs 1,500 crore in Maharashtra, about Rs 600 crore in UP.
In South India, the sales are projected to be around Rs 2,000 crore, the grouping said.
World Gold Council (WGC) Regional CEO (India) Somasundaram P R said that pent up demand, soft prices and good monsoons combined with easing of lockdown across regions, bode well for a strong surge in demand.
"We expect this quarter to be one of the best in recent years, benchmarked to pre-COVID seasons," he told PTI.
Delhi-based PC Jeweller's Managing Director Balram Garg said demand during this Dhanteras is much better than last year.
"Footfalls in our showrooms were good so far. Consumers are buying lightweight jewellery".
Echoing similar views, Kolkata-based Nemichand Bamalwa and Sons Co-Founder Bachhraj Bamalwa said consumers did not buy in the last two years because of the pandemic and now, with normalcy returning, people are stepping out and shopping.
"Gold demand has revived across the country. We are expecting gold sales to reach the pre-pandemic level of 2018-2019," he said.
Further, Bamalwa, also past Chairman of All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, said sales had shifted to online platforms during last Dhanteras due to the pandemic but this time, consumers are returning to physical stores to buy.
Silver sales may not be much due to high prices at Rs 63,000-64,000 per kilogram, he said.
PNG Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director Saurabh Gadgil said, "we are expecting the industry to sell 15-18 tonnes on Dhanteras day and Rs 10,000 crore in value-wise."
Khanna Gems Chairman Pankaj Khanna said sales at its stores were remarkably better over the last two years, adding that gold sales are estimated to have risen by 20 per cent and silver by 40 per cent from the year-ago period.
"This year, the trend for offline buying was restored and there was a 40 per cent increase in the in-store sales as compared to last year," he noted.
Kundan Group Director Vidit Garg said that true to expectations, this Dhanteras, our sales have been very encouraging.
"We have already achieved more than 30 per cent sales as compared to last year and we expect the festive season to end with a 50 per cent rise in the sale of gold and silver coins only."
Senco Gold and Diamonds CEO Suvankar Sen said there was a rush throughout the day and it witnessed good footfalls across the country.
This year the uptick in jewellery is more than bars and coins.
This Dhanteras is going to be one of the best in over a decade for the industry, he added.
Besides the wedding jewellery, he said the floating consumers mostly went for neckpieces, bangles, rings and other lightweight jewellery items.
"We are expecting over 35 per cent growth in terms of value and 15 per cent in terms of volume compared with 2019. Last year, was almost a washout due to the pandemic related disruptions and negative consumer sentiments," he added.
Augmont Gold For All Director Sachin Kothari said the demand has doubled compared to last year's Dhanteras and that customers are keener to buy in the range of Rs 3,000-4,000 on an average.
Melorra Founder and CEO Saroja Yeramilli said, "our sales are already headed to double of last year, given the good pick up observed across markets -- both online and offline. Customers are opting for lightweight and trendy gold jewellery and some of the more popular pieces include necklaces, earrings, finger rings, and flexible bracelets, she said."