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How The Jewelry Industry Is Riding The New Normal

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Technology, particularly social media, has also played a crucial role in helping the gems and jewellery industry to regain what it lost in the year since the pandemic. Many companies have taken a leap of faith by continuing to power on with their businesses along with their partners and consumers, using the digital platform to bridge the gap between the real and physical world as seamlessly as they can…

The pandemic has rearranged most sectors and industries across the world. Several businesses have made short-term and long-term changes that fit in with the new normal even as they pave a new way of reaching out to consumers while keeping a close watch on their bottom lines. The jewellery sector in India too has seen its share of ups and downs in the last 12 months and is finally making a great comeback post the lockdown by riding the wave of a new way of life. 

After being locked in for months during lockdown, the consumer buying behaviour changed considerably. Buyers were drawn to buying things that are real, valuable, long-lasting and also define a deep meaning or commitment for them. In jewellery too, we now see consumers making informed decisions about the real and natural valuable pieces vis-a-vis jewellery that is artificial and meaningless. They are increasingly investing in fewer but better things than in items that may look fashionable but might not last. There will be a continued demand for classic diamond jewelry pieces with the desire for quality and lasting value expected to continue, a recent survey done by the De Beers group found. 

Change in Demands

Although the jewellery industry in India is still primarily local, the new urban, informed generation of buyers is changing the game and pushing jewellery companies to think out of the box — in terms of design, sourcing, inspired collections and craftsmanship. Organisations are on their toes to meet the changing demands of their consumers by curating millennial specific or extremely personalized pieces that tick all the boxes, be it the make, cost or the emotional fulfilment associated with that particular piece. They want questions like — ‘Does my jewellery come with a rare and natural diamond?’, ‘Is the diamond responsibly sourced?’, Does my diamond comply with the four C’s?’ — all answered in the affirmative when they make a purchase.

Technology to the Rescue 

Technology, particularly social media, has also played a crucial role in helping the gems and jewellery industry to regain what it lost in the year since the pandemic. Many companies have taken a leap of faith by continuing to power on with their businesses along with their partners and consumers, using the digital platform to bridge the gap between the real and physical world as seamlessly as they can. 

As a result of all these innovative changes incorporated into their systems, jewellery companies are seeing the emergence of new trends that are setting the pace for the entire industry. Here are a few:

* Classic and elegant designs will continue to dominate the diamond jewellery market because the millennials particularly find these new designs informal, playful and experimental. Heritage pieces that reflect a link to past inspirations is something that will continue to be popular even in 2021.

* Jewellery consumption patterns by women are seeing an interesting shift with self purchases becoming a norm in a way. What we see today is an evolution in the way Indian women buy jewellery, particularly diamonds. Women aspire to own an exquisite, priceless piece of diamond jewellery that has been bought as a self-gift to celebrate a milestone or an achievement. Women today don’t wait for their loved ones to shower them with diamond jewellery to mark a special occasion or a milestone in the relationship. Rather, independent women and new brides are increasingly rewarding themselves with a beautiful diamond purchase to celebrate and honour their own achievements or to seal forever a priceless memory. These women buyers are on the constant look-out for brands and collections that reflect their own values and help them express their unique aspirations.

* Unique concepts that have been put in place after extensive market research and consumer feedback are also becoming popular in the sector. For example, Forevermark diamonds has come up with an interesting idea to ensure that its customers receive a complete Forevermark one-stop retail experience at each of its eight boutique stores. At these stores, a customer can get expert advice on the diamonds they want to buy, they can learn about the diamond grading system, they can choose the carat weight or even find the perfect diamond cut for their piece of jewellery. Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Delhi and Gurugram, all have a Forevermark boutique store each. 

Through the pandemic right up until presently, customers with disposable incomes who were living through the volatility and uncertainty of the global economy did feel some guilt about shopping while many suffered, and therefore, chose to invest in fewer, better things – their indulgent purchases were also stores of value likely to appreciate over time.

Fine jewelry is one of these purchases that have taken on a new relevance post pandemic. It is an emotional purchase, especially through trying times, that reflects all the unspoken words and deep feelings between loved ones. As a result, there is a surge in purchases of high-ticket classics, such as engagement ring and solitaire stud upgrades and investment-grade watches, particularly the iconic models from leading brands such as Rolex.

( This article is written by By Sachin Jain, Managing Director, De Beers India )