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    Dhanteras 2021: Jewellery sales in Chennai up 10-20% from 2019

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    Dhanteras 2021: Jewellery sales in Chennai up 10-20% from 2019

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    Jewellers now say festive-driven sales this year so far, are 60 percent more than last year, and are up 10 to 20 percent over festive sales in 2019.

    After a lean year, thanks to the pandemic, jewellers in Chennai seem to be on a dream run, with showroom walk-ins and sales in top gear, especially in the last few months. The recovery in business has almost offset the lows of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic ensured a washout to sales.
    Jewellers now say festive-driven sales this year so far, are 60 percent more than last year, and are up 10 to 20 percent over festive sales in 2019. The spike isn’t all too surprising. With Dhanteras only a day away, Diwali to follow and Tamil Nadu’s two-month-long wedding season to bring up the year-end along with New Year and the state’s harvest festival Pongal in January, jewellers are bracing for a windfall.
    'Increase in walk-ins, per-customer spend'
    "There is a 20 percent increase in walk-ins from 2019 and an 11 percent increase in per-customer purchase from 2019," said Amarendran Vummidi, managing director at Chennai-based Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers, "So, not only are we seeing more customers walk in, but they are also buying more."
    All jewellery brands based in Chennai are privately run, often by families who have been in the gold retail business for several decades if not a century or more. As such, these companies are tight-lipped about sales numbers and their quantum of profit.
    However, most of these jewellers say there is an increase in demand and sales that they attribute to the spike in consumer demand across verticals after the COVID second wave. Add to this the surety of investing in gold especially amid a period of economic uncertainty, and it does not take much to indicate that it is a seller’s market.
    However, one of the most significant reasons for the spike in sales, jewellers say, is simply that people just aren’t spending as much as they used to on weddings, resulting in more spending on jewellery instead.
    "Somebody might say 'I’ve saved some money here; let me spend it on my daughter — I’d rather spend it on her than blow it somewhere’," said Abhay Mehta, Partner, Mehta Jewellers, another well-known Chennai-based brand, "My guesstimate would be that spend is 10 to 20 percent more now than before."
    Vintage, ethnic and intricate ornaments a hit
    What’s Chennai buying, this festive season? The classics continue to rule the roost — from vintage and ethnic necklaces to the traditional oddiyanams or waist belts worn by brides at weddings.
    The big consumer trend though, jewellers say, is a shift from buying pure gold with minimal making charges, to buying intricately carved ornaments adorned with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. This trend alone, some showrooms say, has contributed significantly to the spike in spend per-customer. Irrespective of this preference though, gold continues to stay strong.
    "I would say 90 percent to 93 percent of customer purchases is still gold, but there is a good mix of diamonds, antiques, vintage, and ethnic collections as well," said G R Radhakrishnan, managing director at GRT Jewellers.
    Indications are rife that the gold-loving Chennai market could spend a lot more on precious metal in the months ahead. If this is indeed the case, the festivities for jewellers may have already begun.​
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