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It will benefit retailers if they come out of the mindset of business seasonality: Nakul Bansal, Director, Sona Chandi Jewellers, Haldwani



Consumer behaviour has seen a drastic change post-Covid. Before the pandemic, many customers used to visit the showrooms once every month or two months. They used to buy at least 3-4 types of jewellery in one year. Post-Covid, that tendency has shifted to designer jewellery. Customers now look for selected, unique products. Their buying frequency has reduced to maybe once or twice a year, but they are in for the premium inventory. If I talk about my city, I can say that the demand for designer jewellery has seen an almost 50% jump from the pre-pandemic era. Previously, customers used to settle for routine designs. They no longer do that.

In my opinion, we have the pandemic-induced social media hangover to thank for. When we were shut indoors, fashinistas took the time to explore how luxury was perceived abroad. This exploration has slowly made the average Indian jewellery lover aware of the Tiffany’s and Cartier’s of the world. Today’s customers are exposed to hundreds and thousands of jewellery designs which trend at the click of a button. So, they know what jewellery to buy and what not to buy. They want to go with the trend.

For example, first copy jewellery designs of Versace, Bulgari, and Louis Vuitton, with respect to pendants, bracelets, rings, etc are coming into the market in the last 6 months to one year. Indian customers are price-centric and many of them might not afford an Rs 8 lakh bracelet from an international jewellery house. So, those types of customers have started demanding the first copy of those jewellery designs. Upon receiving a lot of enquiries from customers in advance, we decided to keep a separate line of this particular jewellery in the showroom.

It is interesting to know how the millennials have shifted their preferences because of different circumstances before and after the pandemic. Previously, this cohort of below 40 years of age used to be frequent buyers. They used to window-shop a lot of time and had an average purchasing capacity of Rs 1-1.25 lacs. Now, they are willing to spend Rs 2.5-3 lacs on designer jewellery. So, the ticket size has increased. Currently, this type of range occupies 40% of my inventory.

Also, people enter the showroom with strong intent and determination to buy these days. Due to this, us jewellers have to be on our toes to keep only those designs that are on high demand, throughout the year. Previously, we used to keep routine designs during the off-season as the demand used to be generally low. Post-Covid, the notion of seasons has gone out the window as customers buy whenever they want to. So, the pressure is currently on retailers to maintain a good inventory amidst the rising prices of gold, diamond and gemstones. Inventory will get dearer day by day, but absorbing that cost of investment and sourcing premium inventory is going to benefit the retailer in the long run, because there is nothing called as off-season. The customer can come in any time of the year. Purchases are not necessarily timed with weddings or festivals. Retailers will now have to be armed with the full bouquet of designs round the year.

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