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Adhik mass- Silver bullet for silver industry



By Suneeta Kaul

The month of Adhik Maas, which is added to the Hindu calendar once every three years or so, and which falls between September and October this year, has come as a blessing to the silver industry, particularly in Maharashtra, where it is observed by gifting silver jewellery and articles to sons-in-law.

Like all other sectors of the economy, the silver industry has also suffered because of the pandemic. Demand came to a virtual standstill for almost three months when the first lockdown was announced. Even as the economy opened up, business was slow to take off, but the Adhik Maas month has given a huge fillip to sales.

Significance of Adhik Maas in COVID times

Put simply, Adhik Maas is an extra month in the Hindu calendar that is inserted to keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned. It is also called the Purshottam Maas, with Purshottam being an epithet of Lord Vishnu, to whom it is dedicated. The month has a particular significance in Maharashtrian culture, where it is considered to be a period of fasting, prayer, charity and self-improvement. The other ‘silver lining’ of the month is gifts of silver and silver articles given to the young, particularly sons-in-law.

The practice of gifting silver articles during this time is so widespread that demand shoots up four to five times the normal. Says Saurabh Gadgil, Managing Director, PNG Jewellers, “We witness five to six times more demand for silver articles, silver jewellery and silver coins during this month. We ensure that we are well-stocked so as to meet the high demand. This year too, demand has shot up, in spite of the pandemic.”

Silver sales have been low in the past couple of years, with prices rising and demand falling. The pandemic could not have come at a worse time, as the economy was already going through a lean phase and corporate gifting, which accounts for a large part of the demand for silver articles, was not happening. The COVID problem caused the silver mines to shut down, and prices crossed Rs 75,000 per kg.

In this scenario, the significance of Adhik Maas for the silver industry this year is much greater than in other years in which this month falls. Demand anyway peaks at this time, but this year, the surge has more value for the industry, as it was reeling under the impact of a series of unfortunate events.

According to Vastupal Ranka, Director, Ranka Jewellers, “During Adhik Maas, we see a big jump in demand for silver articles and jewellery, such as pooja articles, plates, dinner sets, glasses, silver boxes, coins, customised items, etc. In jewellery, anklets are the hot selling item, as women do not like to wear gold on their feet, opting for silver instead. This year is no different. We are seeing brisk sales of these items. The only difference is that normally, there are big queues at this time in retail outlets. This time, the queues are shorter, but the demand is still there.”

Boost to online commerce

Silver retailers confirm that even though footfalls are fewer, the demand is still robust, and a significant part of it is being met through online sales. In fact, COVID has forced jewellery retailers to take to the online route in a more pronounced manner, and this is being seen as the silver lining of the dark pandemic cloud.

“We have now expanded our online presence, and apart from our own site, our products are also available on various platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. Online sales have become part of the New Normal, and we are up for the challenge,” declares Gadgil.

Some retailers have ventured into e-commerce for the first time because of the pandemic, while others were already online, but are planning to make it a much more significant part of their business model. “We were already selling our products online. But now, we are doing so on a larger scale. During Akshaya Tritiya, we sent messages to our clients, persuading them to opt for the online route for buying our products, and they saw the merit in doing so. But yes, generally, only low-priced items are selling online,” says Ranka.

Going forward

Retailers acknowledge that buying has been subdued of late, and Adhik Maas is the catalyst they needed to spur demand. But the industry expects the situation to keep on improving, even after this special month is over.

Reasons Gadgil, “In the coming months, we are expecting the release of pent-up demand. The monsoon has been good this year, and that should lead to an overall improvement of the economy, causing sales in this segment also to pick up. Besides, we have a festive season coming up, and then there is also the wedding season to look forward to.”

Though silver is not part of a bride’s wedding jewellery, it is part of her trousseau. Silver articles are used big time for gifting to relatives and friends during weddings. With a large number of postponed weddings expected to take place in the coming months, the industry has good reason to smile in anticipation.

Additionally, if price correction happens, demand will improve further. But the rising prices have had their own positive spin-off. “Silver is now viewed as a more attractive commodity, and people are buying it for investment purposes. They see it as having a better re-sale value than before,” explains Ranka.

All in all, the silver industry can look forward to improved sales and a shinier future.


Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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