Wedding shoppers seek lightweight gold jewellery that looks good on-screen…

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After slow recovery in Q2 and Q3, the wedding and festive seasons have given a push to gold retailers in Q4. Reliance Jewels, Tanishq and Khimji Jewels share the shopping trends…

The idea of weddings was recently tweaked a little for the Indians. The gathering has shrunk to immediate relatives and close friends, week-long festivities are now being managed within a day or two, a lot of offline shopping has shifted to digital mediums… all thanks to the COVID pandemic.

However, what does not seem to have changed a lot even in these times is the jewellery craze during the wedding and festive seasons. The demand for gold jewellery in these festive times is helping gold retailers across India to make a comeback, after a slow recovery post-unlock.

Reliance Jewels showrooms have witnessed consistent increase in footfalls ever since the country started unlocking. A company spokesperson tells afaqs! that a section of their customers are wedding shoppers, whose weddings were originally planned in Q1 and Q2, but were then postponed to Q3 and Q4.

“The gems and jewellery industry was initially affected due to the pandemic, particularly in Q1 of this financial year (2020-21). We have, however, seen growth recovery post-lockdown.”

There are fewer pre and post-wedding functions, and attendees as well, and, hence, the average investment in a wedding has (comparatively) gone down. The spokesperson states that this surplus budget is now being kept aside, allowing (for) more investment in gold as a security for future.

Reliance Jewels is also witnessing a surge in old gold exchange, and pre-booking jewellery, anticipating that the prices will increase in the short and mid-term.

Speaking of jewellery preferences, the spokesperson mentions that intricately designed temple jewellery and elegant antique gold designs inspired by art and heritage, are always loved by young couples for their heritage appearance. Gold and coloured gemstones are the next preferred choice of the wedding brigade, that is looking for distinctive designs with a blend of both traditional and modern patterns. There is also a surge in the demand for lightweight, functional jewellery, as well as more wearable pieces, which are reversible as well as detachable and can be styled in different ways for different occasions.

“Another aspect taken into consideration nowadays is buying jewellery that will look spot-on, on screens, since the traditional wedding is (now) going digital. The demand was, more or less, the same from the pre-COVID times, and has not varied a lot.”

In these times, Reliance Jewels has launched a kids collection – ‘Nitara’, keeping in mind the fact that today’s children are increasingly gravitating towards style. Starting at Rs 3,000, the collection’s designs have been inspired by fairytales and fantasies, with elements like unicorns, butterflies, flowers, stars, among others.

The spokesperson also says that safety, when visiting the offline jewellery store, has become very important for the consumers. “Consumer opinions on retail space sanitisation are most likely to continue to play on the shoppers’ mind for some time to come.”

Ranjani Krishnaswamy, Tanishq’s general manager – marketing, also points out the same over a call with afaqs!. She says that with the fear of the pandemic, safety has been on the top of mind for the consumers. To cater to it, the brand has been using UV sanitisation, face shields, foot sanitisers and taking all preventive steps in its offline stores.

Ranjani Krishnaswamy

Krishnaswamy reveals that above-the-keyboard-ready jewellery has been trending this festive season. “Demand for jewellery that is visible in a visual interface has picked up.” It is one of the trending opportunities that the brand (Tanishq) is building on.

She mentions that the brand, like most others, was not able to transact for the most part of Q1 due to the lockdown. It was only closer to September that normalcy in the segment returned.

From the consumer behaviour perspective, Krishnaswamy says that two things have changed in the market since the pandemic. First, there has been a profound emphasis on gold as a safe haven and, therefore, a great amount of investment mindset has come in. Second, due to the feeling of being deprived from gold shops (shopping) for all these months, a sense of demand came up during the festive season.

What has been consistent through these months, she mentions, has been digitalisation in the space. “The consumers have become more rational when it comes to investment, and are more safety conscious. A significant amount of jewellery discovery, shopping and booking store visit appointments has moved to online in these times.”

Speaking about the market during the pandemic, Krishnaswamy says that different parts of India reacted in different ways. “While there were parts where business was usual, many markets surfaced gradually with the coming of festivals. The buying behaviour had changed a little. Consumers moved to lightweight jewellery. Gold coins have certainly seen a better year than ever. While between Q1 and Q2, gold coins saw a lot of traction, but as gold rate becomes more favourable to the consumers, the demand will shift back again to jewellery.”

Some of this coin buying has been towards converting (it) into jewellery in future, while some has been for investment purpose, she says.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Tanishq has launched several new jewellery ranges catering to the consumer demand, like ‘Ekatvam’ and ‘Rivaah’.

Nishit Nanda, CEO, consumer business, Khimji Jewels, says that there has been a major shift in customer behaviour during the pandemic. “The demand for gold has already tumbled, slammed by record high domestic prices.”

Nishit Nanda

“But with the arrival of the festive season, the sales have recovered, and wedding jewellery market has also seen growth, as other expenses have been cut down due to new normal weddings.”

Nanda also shares that the consumers are now seeking less formal, yet intricate jewellery designs, and online purchasing has seen a remarkable surge. “Minimalist or lightweight jewellery is having its moment in the limelight. It is becoming a way of life for the consumers. They prefer to buy more daily, sleek and simple jewellery, as compared to heavy traditional pieces.”

The price range in demand, he says, is between Rs 15,000 and Rs 50,000.

When asked about investment in gold coins and bricks, Nanda states that the consumers are opting for it. “As per the present condition, they are investing in gold coins as security, hence, we have started our Gold Investment Plan (GIP) vigorously, to very positive results.”

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