WEBINAR: Leadership in Transformative Times with Tanishq CEO Ajoy Chawla

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 Tanishq sees trend for lightweight jewels due to high gold price

Gold coins are becoming increasingly popular due to bullion’s appeal as a safe haven investment, Ajoy Chawla, head of Titan Company’s jewellery division, tells Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough.

Mr Chawla spoke with jewellery consultant Anil Prabhakar in a webinar conversation about Titan retail group Tanishq’s perspective on the Indian gold and jewellery markets.

 

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What is the outlook for jewellery retail in India during and beyond the lockdown?

It is difficult for anyone to predict the outlook for any industry, as the situation is rapidly changing. At best we can look three months ahead. Cash flow challenges and job losses will certainly impact discretionary spending for most industries, but given the size of the market, it is possible to identify unique pockets of opportunity. The jewellery category, especially in India, has some unique consumer perspectives. These could shape and frame recovery in demand.

First, the investment mindset around gold. Second, the ritualistic symbolism that jewellery has during festivals and weddings. As for weddings, we believe there will be deferred demand. Third, the pent-up demand around personal celebrations, birthdays and anniversaries: though discretionary, these are clearly becoming means of self-expression and celebration.

Safety will, however, dominate consumer thinking, and brands must build consumer confidence by creating safe, tech-supported, convenient ways of shopping.

What type of jewellery creations are Tanishq’s best sellers during this period?

During Akshaya Tritiya, we saw a few trends.Considering gold is a safe haven in these times, many customers purchased gold coins to perhaps redeem for jewellery later when stores reopen. Given high gold prices, we have seen a trend towards lightweight jewellery for several months now.

Furthermore, we have continued to see growth in demand for diamond and coloured stones studded jewellery, indicating a secular trend in adornment usage. During Akshaya Tritiya last month, many customers bought jewellery online for the first time, and we observed people opting for lightweight jewellery with contemporary designs. We also saw significant enquiries for wedding jewellery, hence post lockdown we expect this segment to pick up.

What impact will the high price of gold have on the mindset of the Indian jewellery consumer, against expectations for a worsening global economic outlook?

For Indians, gold is beyond a means of adornment: it is a symbol of security. It symbolises beauty, with the benefit of having appreciated in value over the longer term. The business community is positive towards it. Even the salaried class is beginning to see gold as an interesting asset. Hence, we believe gold jewellery will continue to be popular, as long as there is not too much volatility in gold prices. Indians’ love for gold may just get stronger!

Is Tanishq looking to expand its operations outside India, including the UK?

At this moment, our focus is on resuming our operations in India where we have 328 Tanishq stores and more in the pipeline. Once the situation improves, we are planning to launch our first standalone Tanishq store in Dubai as a pilot for testing waters in the Middle East region. We are yet to explore or consider the UK.

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