Novel Coronavirus pandemic hit the global jewelry business with its full might. The impact includes complete loss of business for months, months of zero production and a very slow recovery. Jewelry is a luxury item and due to the uncertainty in terms of livelihood people lack confidence to make a purchase even if they have the money.
The global surge in demand for gold for the purpose of investing has instilled some degree of positivity in the sector. Business has resumed in the far east regions including China, Hong Kong, Thailand, etc. Dubai has also opened up for business with a complete withdrawal of restrictions. US and EU markets are opening up slowly. The industry is getting two categories of customers – first who want to sell their gold and cash in profit and second, who are buying gold with the intention of investing. Indian scenario too is very similar to the global pattern.
Key Revival Strategies for Indian G&J Industry
Adapting to Omnichannel
Until the vaccine is available which might take a year or so, people would not like to visit stores just to look at jewelry. Going forward, digital will become the predominant medium for jewelry browsing and selection, while retails stores would be the final point of sale. Thus, Indian jewelers must be present on both online and offline platforms to cater to the tech-savvy breed of consumers.
360 Degree Infusion of Technology
We have reached a point where ignoring technology would lead businesses to extinction. To remain relevant, optimize business functions and ensure rapid growth, technology must be infused in all aspects of jewelry making including manufacturing, promoting and selling.
Ease of Doing Business
Government intervention in optimizing ease of doing business is an essential and urgent step for the revival of India’s G&J industry. Global leaders want reforms that can enable buying jewelry from Indian jewelers in exchange of gold bars. Several leaders feel, once the reformed policies kick in the sector will leap ahead exponentially.
Taking Care of the Artisans
Indian handcrafted jewelry is globally famous for its craftsmanship. The same jewelry if made anywhere else it would cost at least four times more. The industry must take measures for the well-being of artisans during the current hardship. Losing them and their skillset would be disastrous for the industry.
Overall it can be said that controlling the spread of COVID will be a key factor in driving business. In India, post lockdown sales are returning slowly. Wedding jewelry segment is expected to well. Due to Covid restrictions weddings would be small scale and people might spend that extra money on jewelry. However, due to slow rate of resurgence of the global economy, reaching Pre-Covid business volumes might take anywhere between twelve to eighteen months.
Views expressed above have been excerpted from ET BJwelled panel discussion, “Unlearn & Re-learn Strategies to Build Sustainable Business in Post-Covid Era” participated by Chandraprakash Siroya, Vice Chairman, Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, John Reade, Chief Market Strategist, World Gold Council, Prida Tiasuwan, Chairman, Pranda Group. Session Chair: Chirag Sheth, Senior Analyst & Consultant, Metals Focus.