Lightweight jewellery – an everyday affair
For more than 2,000 years, India was the leading supplier of jewels to the world. Golconda diamonds, Kashmir sapphires, and pearls from the Laccadive Sea brought merchants from around the world to India’s shores. For the country’s rulers, heavy strings of gems demonstrated wealth and prestige, while for Indian women, jewellery, especially gold, was an investment and source of economic security. But now attitudes towards jewellery are changing, especially in the metros. Here we talk to industry experts to find out what is going on.
Minimal is the new maximum
Talking about the changing customer preferences in terms of weight and design for the jewellery, Kelappan states, “Today women are more open to experimenting with their looks and attire, and this holds true for the jewellery industry as well. Women are constantly on the lookout for modern and eclectic designs that go with their diverse moods and occasions. This change in consumer perception has worked well in our favour considering we offer minimalist and contemporary fine jewellery that is a hit among women across the country.”
Sharing his views on the subject, Gadgil adds, “Customers have begun to prefer unique designs, that are lightweight and versatile so they can be paired with both Western and Indian outfits. Layered necklaces, chokers, disc-inspired motifs, drop earrings, and subtle but bold designs are in vogue.”
Kelappan explains that at Mia, which comes from the house of Tanishq and Tata, the following factors are held to be the key elements for a great customer experience:
- Stores with an open format that encourages casual browsing, as opposed to the intimidating spaces of traditional jewellers
- Continuous updating of product offerings (introduction of new collections and revision of existing collections)
- Versatile designs
- Sales and support policies that ensure customer satisfaction and experience
On PNG giving its customers a unique experience, Gadgil says, “Right from its inception, PNG Jewellers has been customer-centric in its approach. Our on-ground staff is well-trained in all our stores. The PNG legacy is built on trust and customers are assured that whatever product they buy will be of the best quality and of top-notch design. We offer our valued customers a loyalty programme – PNG Circles; as well as a popular diamond resell and buyback policy of 90 per cent of the invoice value.”
PNG has also decided to set up ‘Try-on Kiosks’ at all its stores to enhance customer experience and increase its sales. The kiosks are computer-like screens where customers can try the jewellery virtually. Customers can create their own profile, sign-in and access it from anywhere on the Internet. It allows them to capture hi-resolution images, save snapshots and make product comparisons before finalising the purchase. The brand also offers the opportunity to save in instalments and buy in a lump sum through the ‘PNG Yojana’ scheme.
Kelappan believes it is the design aspect that is driving the sector’s growth. “Unlike traditional jewellery, there is a lot of innovation and creativity that is being done with this type of jewellery. Contemporary look along with fluid and modular designs that are convertible or detachable are some of the key trends,” he adds. The average range for workwear jewellery is roughly around INR 12,000. At Mia, daily-wear jewellery pieces start from INR 3,999 onwards.
The brand offers several designs across categories including earrings, finger rings, bracelets, bangles, and neck-wear, as well as pendants that have been crafted in 14-karat gold.
Gadgil confirms a sharp increase in daily-wear jewellery in the last three to four years and says it is lightweight diamond jewellery and minimalist styles that are getting the consumers’ attention. “Currently, rose gold is also trending since it offers a change from traditional gold and silver, and the warm pink hue complements the Indian skin quite well. Diamonds remain a popular choice,
while coloured gemstones such as emeralds and rubies, along with pearls, are preferred over others. For gold jewellery, the ticket size ranges from INR 8,000 to 18,000, while for diamond jewellery, the range is between INR 20,000 and 40,000,” he explains.
For Mia, earrings form the top-selling category. The brand has seen a steady rise in demand with consumers increasingly looking for more variety. Earrings are a hit for PNG Jewellers as well. Gold and diamond earrings, rings and pendants are the top sellers, says Gadgil.
Kelappan points out that the demand for daily and/or workwear jewellery is very high among women between the age group of 25 to 35. However, a considerable number of women over 35 also buy Mia products, mostly as gifts for their friends and family. Gadgil agrees that the primary consumers of daily-wear jewellery are working professionals in the age bracket of the mid-twenties to late thirties.
“Currently, most of the traction is coming from the metros and Tier 1 cities. But at Mia, we have also seen considerable interest from consumers that are based in upcoming markets such as Bhubaneswar, Indore and Lucknow among others. In terms of consumer interest as well as purchasing intent, for Mia the top performing markets are Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata,” says Kelappan.
Metros and Tier II cities form the bulk of sales for PNG Jewellers. “The demand is less in Tier III cities. The ratio of consumption in metros, Tier II and Tier III cities is roughly 3:2:1. Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad/ Nagpur are the top cities clocking maximum sales.
Mia keeps track of consumer buying behaviour using data analytics. Some of the key insights are that close to 70 per cent of its customers are usually new customers and that Mia is also extensively purchased for gifting purposes.
PNG Jewellers focuses on continually creating contemporary designs, especially in the diamond category. “We keep our prices highly competitive. Additionally, we ensure our customers receive the best possible shopping experience by positioning our products as must-haves. In line with our marketing strategy, we are promoting these category products predominantly on social media platforms,” says Gadgil.
All the comments seem to indicate that, far from losing its sparkle, the Indian jewellery market has simply shifted in accordance with changes in fashion and lifestyle, increased globalisation and new marketing techniques. The daily-wear jewellery space is growing by leaps and bounds in the country and is bound to evolve, with more and more players paying more attention to the major shifts in consumer preference.