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IIJS Signature 2019 ‘slow but steady’ as innovation fights low buying power



The most selective jewellery trade show in India, IIJS Signature held its 12th edition at Bombay Exhibition Center during February 10-13, 2019. In arguably the best destination for distinguished jewellery purchase, Signature opened to about 18000 visitors to give them an opportunity to rewind the rather dull market scenario. Various new technologies were imbibed in jewellery across the 1400 booths as manufacturers went all-out in replenishing the wow factor in jewellery. The Retail Jeweller shares a glance of the hits and misses of Signature this year.

Lightweight innovations in gold

As gold rates go up, the demand for lightweight jewellery has been splendid in Signature 2019. The USP of manufacturer DP Jewels is lightweight jewellery and in the prevailing market scenario, it is a winning mantra for the manufacturers. With their innovative Oorza Collection, DP Jewels saw an increase of about 50% in their stall footfalls this time, which is also their seventh participation in Signature.

RK Silver from Rajkot also displayed their Italian-style multi-colour rings, pendants and necklace sets and other items. Natural multi-colour rings were also displayed at the exhibition. Lotus Jewellery Creation’s Vineet Vasa, a firm believer in demand boost of lightweight due to rising gold prices, displayed unique designs starting from 8 grams of gold. “This time we have launched our ancient splendour collection with signature setting in diamonds. It was initially tough to develop but you cannot find it anywhere else,” said Vineet Vasa of Lotus Jewellery Creation.

According to Vijay Gems and Jewellery, people have tightened their purse and are looking for lightweight items that look big. Thus, the manufacturer has introduced new varieties in their lightweight bangles and mangalsutra collections.

Viraj Bharat Sheth, partner at Batukbhai Sons Jewellers, Nagpur, feels that due to increasing frequency of domestic trade shows happening every alternate month, the overall momentum for IIJS Signature Show 2019 was slow but steady. Viraj, however, had a qualitative interaction with his preferred manufacturers regarding their jewellery.

Raju Oswal, Partner, Mahendra Jewellers, Kolhapur said, “In lightweight jewellery, I saw elegant designs in rose gold. There were beautiful ranges of bangles in ‘kalkatta jewellery’.  Previously, people used to hesitate when it comes to buying rose gold but the metal has become trendy for design-rich pieces”.

Paresh Soni, Director, C H Jewellers Pvt Ltd, Vadodara said, “We don’t indulge in heavy buying during Signature as for us, the season starts from July-August. We come to Signature to meet our supplies and fulfil generic gold jewellery requirements such as chains, bangles, earrings, etc.”

“Although gold rate is higher, I believe this will boost investment in gold jewellery because of its upward curve,” said Akshay Verma of Verma Jewellers. In spite of the slump in demand because of turbulence in market, he urged manufacturers to be aggressive in their designing so that retailers are enticed to bulk buying. Regarding the variety of collections at Signature this year, Verma said it was decent but a lot more innovation is required.

Buying-centric crowd

Ankit Jain from Matushree Gold LLP in Bengaluru says that IIJS Signature attracts some of the best crowds amongst all the jewellery shows in India. “Although the crowd is limited this time but they were more buying-centric. Due to the market slowdown, there was not much business in the first couple of days, but eventually as the exhibition progressed I received good enquiries for my products. So, overall I am quite happy with the response and hope that the market will eventually pick up due to the upcoming wedding season.”

Agreeing with Ankit, Jaydeep Wadher of RK Silver, Rajkot, feels that Signature is only for genuine buyers. The event over the years has helped jewellers book their dates in advance for the lure of great business. Signature tells the pulse of the market and which way the trade is going. The best thing happened to me at Signature is that I have been able to make new clients, Ankit adds.

From a visitor to an exhibitor for the first time, the experience for Dashrath Silver Art has been great. “I’m elated with the positive response from buyers. Although there are other jewellery shows happening in the country, IIJS Signature has an edge over others. The amount of exposure you get here is not possible in any other show,” says Vipul Joshi from Dashrath Silver Art.

Hitesh Adesara from Keshavji Chhaganlal Jewellers, Jamshedpur, praises a practice of logistics service which IIJS Signature started last year. “We used to bring back jewellery we bought on our own but now the organisers provide logistics services back to our destinations,” Adesara says.

Being the hub for choicest jewellery across India, Signature is also a great platform to collaborate with new manufacturers and if possible, also expand a retailers’ product line. Adesara started working with two players, each of whom specialise in antique jewellery and gift items respectively. “To compare my past and present experience, I’ve had a 20% better purchase at Signature this year than that of 2018,” maintains Adesara.

Brides Downsize by design

Kishan Surana from Sri Krishna Diamonds, Bengaluru said the distinct designs in diamond wedding jewellery helped plug gaps in their inventory, while Raju Oswal was impressed by varieties in antique jewellery with Kundan and Meena work therein. The chakri diamonds with Rio Tinto’s Australian diamond certificate got many takers this time. RR Jewels, which deals in heavyweight items only, launched antique jadau jewellery collections with Minakari and Meena-Kundan work.

“As a heavyweight player and due to our client base, we have seen a huge demand for heavyweight jewellery in Signature,” Tejas Soni from RR Jewels said. Likewise, Sahib Dayal Singh Bir from Neelkanth Jewellers bought new wedding jewellery collections in diamond, baby pink and Russian emerald.

However, demonetisation has sapped the much-needed cash flow for the bridal segment. According to Ankit Chokshi, partner, Kanjibhai Jewellers feels GST and demonetisation have severely restricted indulgent purchase. “The diamond market is hit. Again, celebrities are setting trends of heritage jewellery. As Indian buyers are avid followers of Bollywood trends, those jewellery are getting the limelight on family occasions,” said Chokshi. Santosh Ranka of Gulabchand Chatrangji & Sons said, “Buyers from well-to-do families are not purchasing high-ticket items. As gold prices rose, people are only resorting to limited need-based purchases which are either occasion-based or work-wear, where profit margin is low.”

Mandeep Kishore, Shri Ram Jewellers, Gurgaon, feels it is up to the retailer to keep interest in heavyweight alive. “This time, business was below expectation at Signature but I feel manufacturers keeping heavyweight jewellery retains retailers’ interest in purchasing this category,” Kishore said, as he feels transaction via cheques, netbanking etc are becoming frequent in case of heavyweight jewellery. “In Sadar bazaar area, I as a jeweller struggled with cash payment for heavyweight items. Now women themselves pay online and I don’t need to wait for payment in tranches,” Kishore maintained, adding that although there is a market slowdown, still jewellers should have faith in their products and keep aspirations alive by not doing away with heavyweight completely.

Market slowdown and impacts

General consensus on IIJS Signature 2019 point towards a lukewarm buying sentiment despite some inspiring innovation by many manufacturers. The rising gold rate is a dampener for one. Secondly, for Sagar Shah, director, Abhay Kumar Walchand Shah Saraf Pvt Ltd., there was a lack of variety in all jewellery categories as compared to last year, which also affected the walk-ins. “In the Osmanabad area where I have 2 showrooms, a lot of business comes from farmers. But there was shortage of rainfall this year, due to which buying has been restricted to bridal segment only,” said Shah, adding that those who had the capacity to buy 100 grams of gold jewellery are dropping their bars to 60 grams. Adesara also seconded Shah, saying gold jewellery sellers are having a tough time.

Manufacturer Bhavik Shah of R.P. Ornaments and retailer Sagar Shah were unanimous on the need to keep Signature a 3-day affair only. “Expenses increase a lot when you extend the show by a day and when the buying appetite is so less, one should also not invest time more than needed,” said Shah of R.P. Ornaments. “Signature always starts on a Monday but this year, many jewellers from Pune and surrounding areas couldn’t come because they had their showrooms open on Sunday, when Signature started,” said Sagar Shah.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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