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A Festive Delight: Platinum sellers sing a song of ice and fire

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As the festive season ushers in goodwill and love in year that has seen more disasters than ever, sellers are getting ready to market platinum to capitalize against the rising gold prices. The Retail Jeweller charts out the way that most manufacturers and retailers are targeting to walk this festive season

With its thousand negative effects, Covid has also brought in positive personal changes. While loved ones have become indispensable, festive experiences have become more meaningful because of the new-found respect that people suddenly have for life. The tumbling economy and rising gold prices have brought in another wonderful alternative to the fore this festive and wedding season, especially for millennials — platinum.

Platinum is rare, unique and differentiated – the younger audience is one that knows and appreciates that. The intrinsic value of the metal, its rarity, strength and purity make it extremely valuable to them. To them, their social and self-image matter, and platinum feeds into it. This is one of the biggest reasons why platinum is a strong consideration for them during the festive season. The favourable pricing of platinum is also a real opportunity.

A Favourable Option

For the upcoming festive season, manufacturers and retailers foresee a rise in platinum demands. Vaishali Banerjee, managing director of Platinum Guild International, India, says that Covid has influenced consumer behaviour and there is a shift towards more conscious consumption. Thus, going forward, consumer spend will be more deliberate, but not necessarily curtailed.

“We foresee a positive outlook for the upcoming season. The pandemic has made people revaluate their priorities and they have found a renewed sense of gratitude, appreciation towards life and their loved ones. They are keen to recognise and mark that. Platinum fits right into this motivation given that a reaffirmation of life, love, values and relationships is what we have always stood for,” she said.

 

“The favourable market conditions offer a huge potential for higher platinum jewellery sales. We will continue to position and highlight platinum as a rare, modern and differentiated metal to the consumers, which is now available at an attractive price point when compared to gold,” said Rajesh Kalyanaraman, executive director of Kalyan Jewellers.

 

Suvankar Sen, CEO of Senco Gold and Diamonds feels that the rise in gold prices is what will drive the demand for platinum this season. “Platinum is unique and rare, the price differential offers potential for higher platinum sales against a higher gold price,” he said.

The metal is a favourable option for manufacturers as well, because it bounced back immediately as the markets re-opened after lockdown. “The recovery for platinum is 60% in most cases, going even higher for some of our retail partners. This gives us a great sense of reassurance for the coming quarter,” said Banerjee

The Festive Plans

Driving demand, aspiration and familiarity around the metal is what that Platinum Guild India has always done. For the festive season, the brand has an aggressive consumer and trade marketing programme to reignite demand. “We start with a platinum category initiative aptly called ‘Season of Hope’. It is intended to be our rebuild vehicle and straddle all three of our category brands, Platinum Days of Love – our couple rings offering, Men of Platinum — our offering for men & Evara – our brand for women’s jewellery. This is retail activation in association with our retail partners,” said Banerjee.

In terms of doing things differently, this is one of it. PGI also hopes to tap the sentimental chords in consumers by contributing and donating to uplift the lives of migrant workers and bringing a bit of hope back for them in association with Oxfam. The attempt will be to energise and add momentum with new collections and broader price points across the board.

Promoting platinum on the digital sphere this festive season has now become a must, with most businesses adding a thrust to their e-commerce platforms. “We are looking at digital campaigns in the upcoming months and in-store activation, which can push demand. I am sure PGI has some campaigns planned,” said Kalyananraman.

He is not wrong. “We are strategically focusing on digital and social media platforms as this is the preferred platform for our core target audience of millennials. We will also work towards creating a strong B2B platform to facilitate better trade interactions,” said Banerjee.

Sen too, is looking at an e-commerce thrust to build demand for platinum. “Other than the usual digital campaigns, we have added platinum jewellery as a product category in our e-commerce portal to boost sales.” he said.

Avinash Pahuja, director of Raia Jewels Pvt Ltd, is going a step further and adding a whole array of designs to woo the crowd with platinum during the festivities. “We are developing a whole range of platinum jewellery pieces spanning various categories at optimum price points. Platinum jewellery pieces for women, as well as dual finishes, have been the focus,” he said.

Consumer Insights and Challenges

PGI conducted a study, which found some key points that will drive consumer insights in the next quarter. For one, there is a focus on building more value in life and celebrating close relationships. With the festive season coming forward, most people who would normally do with insignificant gifts that spanned apparels, furniture or upholstery, are now going for precious jewellery to show that they care. A strong metal like platinum will be a must during such a time. India is also a country that invests in jewellery and looks at it as an integral part of its culture.

“It has always been a marker of social and personal milestones in life. For most consumers, precious jewellery has a store of value and the quality of the metal is of high importance to them. Building brands with emotional meaning and design differentiation will be the key competitive advantage,” said Banerjee.

Kalyanaraman said since the lockdown lifted and stores opened, there has been an increase in customer walk-ins. This has also led to a pick-up in demand for jewellery, including platinum. “Consumers are cautiously optimistic and are looking forward to celebrating the festive season with their loved ones, with a meaningful gift like platinum,” he said.

“Consumers are looking forward to marking festivals with platinum and make the occasions memorable,” said Pahuja.

Among the few challenges that all platinum manufacturers are iffy about is the digital push. While most feel that customers prefer walk-ins to buy jewellery, others are worried about the difficulties in processing the metal.

“Platinum is a challenging metal and hence we have been learning new front-end and back-end processes to work with the metal to ensure its properties remain intact, and thus we can manufacture the best of designs while maintaining the metal’s quality and purity, as well as optimizing price points. We work in tandem with PGI India to address any roadblocks that we face with platinum, as they have the necessary expertise to address our queries,” said Pahuja.

Banerjee still feels that the festive season will see customers wanting to walk into stores to buy jewellery and is working towards making things as safe as it can get. “The extended lockdown with limited access and restricted movement has led to fast-track adoption of e-commerce across industries. It has become a key focus to drive business growth, but consumers are willing to visit stories provided the safety measures being undertaken are articulated clearly,” she said.

In digital, the focus is on discovery and desire. “Getting consumers back to our platforms to browse our collection – redirecting them from there on to our partners. We have also been attempting to strengthen our presence on partner assets to be visible as a strong choice for platinum this festive season,” Banerjee added.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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