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RJ Market Watch

The pandemic impact -Ticket size of jewellery purchase varies, depending on area



By Suneeta Kaul

Much has been written about the impact of the pandemic on the retail jewellery sector, but the story never seems to get old. Newer and newer aspects of how the COVID-19 disaster has influenced practically every aspect of the business keep emerging, and the latest factor is whether the average ticket size of jewellery purchase has changed in view of the pandemic.

Industry players do not seem to have a unanimous opinion on this issue, but that could be because customers in different geographies behave differently. However, one thing is pretty clear – the love affair of Indians with jewellery, particularly that of South Indians with gold jewellery, continues without any lessening of the ardour. In fact, people are spending more than ever on jewellery; it is just that the kind of jewellery being bought has undergone a change.

As per data collected by OkCredit, a mobile-based solution for small business owners and their customers to record credit/payment transactions digitally, the average ticket size of gold and silver jewellery sale went up by as much as 16% in November 2020, as compared to the previous month, despite gold prices hitting record levels. However, the overall ticket size of gold ornaments dropped 70%, as compared to the festival season in 2019, with customers buying smaller and lighter jewellery items.

Different geographies, different experiences

While the findings of OkCredit reflect an all-India trend, South-based retailers have their own story to tell. Says Pavan Mor, Managing Director, Pavan Mor Jewellers, the Hyderabad-based gold and diamond jewellery retailer, “The ticket size of jewellery has definitely reduced by 30% to 50% when compared to the pre-Covid era, and this has happened even in the city of Nizams, namely, Hyderabad.”

He adds that Pavan Mor Jewellers has seen a drastic change in the buying patterns of customers. “Walk-ins have reduced. Those who do come are very clear about their budget. Moreover, they mostly come for compulsion purchases, for example, birthdays, marriages, occasion gifting, and so forth. Impulse purchases have reduced greatly, and this is true of not just the middle-class customers, but also the upper echelons of society,” Mor says.

However, not all companies speak of a similar experience. For instance, retailers in smaller towns and cities say they have not seen any impact on the ticket size. Says Saravan Raj Aravindan, Head of Sales & Marketing, Thangamayil Jewellery Ltd, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, “Post the relaxations, there has been no negative impact on the ticket size of jewellery purchase in our area of operation. In fact, in the months of November and December, we have seen significant positive impact in both ticket sizes and Average Value Per Transaction (AVPT) in our stores. We were expecting wedding purchase ticket sizes to come down due to the increase in the price of gold and the pandemic. But the impact on the other spends for a wedding has helped the jewellery sector, and we see no overall adverse impact on either our sales or their ticket size .”

Agrees Mahaveer Bothra, Director of Chennai-based Whitefire Diamonds India Pvt Ltd, “I can confidently say that there is no real difference in the ticket size of jewellery being purchased by our customers, the pandemic notwithstanding. Yes, customer preferences have undergone a change, and people, especially the younger generation, like to wear lightweignt jewellery that costs less than traditional, heavyweight pieces. But when you see the total amount spent by our customers on jewellery, we do not see any change.”

Some retailers are of the opinion that smart marketing and good salesmanship can determine the ticket size of jewellery purchases. “Jewellery buyers mostly fall into two broad categories – those who want to buy something that appeals to them, and those who have a pre-determined notion of what they want to buy. In both cases, a brilliant sales team can determine the ticket size, but the approach will have to be different. In our case, we have not noticed any change in the ticket size. We lay a great deal of emphasis on our sales team, and as I always say, if your sales team is amazing, you will determine the ticket size,” declares Saju Thomas, Managing Partner, Cammilli Diamond and Gold, Kozhikode, Kerala.

In spite of so many different opinions, industry observers can, more or less, come to the conclusion that the retail jewellery sector has borne the brunt of the pandemic fairly well, and things could return to normal sooner than feared.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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