Jewellery trendspotting: Weddings will boost sector; Gen-Z purchase choices shaped by brand values
According to Hindu mythology, diamonds have been the stone of the Gods. The demand for gold has traditionally been the highest in India when compared to other countries. In short, jewellery has been an integral part of our lives and will continue to do so, even in a post-Covid world that has changed in ways more than one.
The Big, Fat Indian Wedding
High market volatility has led to uncertainties across industries, caused by lockdowns and restrictions, compounded by fear of the future experienced by India’s burgeoning jewellery industry all too well.
The litmus test for the jewellery-purchasing habits of Indians is seen all too well through the prism of Indian weddings. Weddings in India are a declaration of wealth, manifestation of the couple’s desires while meeting the expectations of the guests in attendance. Where the mark of an ideal wedding was a destination wedding, a large affair – flamboyant in the number of guests and the number of events – the pandemic has rewritten the rules by curtailing and restricting the traditional means of putting social capital to use.
Distance selling and e-commerce were already in the pipeline for most independent jewellery designers and are now, more than ever, a priority.
Jewellery, traditionally a significant purchase at weddings, has now become the only factor that can be spent without any limitations. What is being witnessed is budgets traditionally earmarked for large gatherings are now being channelled into buying more jewellery.
Global lockdowns and travel restrictions have significantly impacted the travel industry. While there has been an increase in the number of travellers from the initial days of the pandemic, it is only for essential work.
Travel plans to celebrate important occasions are not happening for the time being and people are now buying higher ticket pieces of jewelry instead. For the first time, jewellers are enjoying a holiday season unburdened by competition from their no 1 rival: travel. Recently a couple, who had plans to travel for their 10th anniversary, cancelled their trip due to Covid. Instead, they decided to buy an exquisite pair of earrings from us.
Future Buying Patterns
While we were already seeing a shift in trend from offline to online purchases, in 2020 Covid accelerated this further. Online shopping presents a unique advantage in its reach across the globe. With more and more brands going online and having substantial social media presence, the customer base is not centered just in India but is now spread around the world. Distance selling and e-commerce were already in the pipeline for most independent jewellery designers and are now, more than ever, a priority.
This crisis reinforced the fact that buying jewellery online from credible and established jewellers is hassle-free and risk-free. In the United States during the peak lockdown months of March and April, the fashion e-tailer Moda Operandi saw fine jewellery sales grow by 35 per cent over the same period in 2019. Similarly in India we are seeing a huge growth in online sales. While Gen-Z have been early adopters of online jewellery shopping, we are increasingly seeing others shop online as well.
Shruti Sharma is a jewellery designer and a graduate in diamond studies from the Gemological Institute of America.
Views of Gen Z & Millennials Critical
Covid-19 has made everyone sit back and take note of the impact of human activities on the environment and the inequalities that exist everywhere. Gen-Z & Millennials, who comprise a chunk of global consumers of the luxury market, are known to have a profound effect on the way fashion brands engage with their customers. They prefer shopping brands that share common values, and are demanding greater transparency when it comes to the source of material used, pricing, environmental impact and labour practices before firming up purchase decisions.
While some in the jewellery industry have always taken cognisance of these issues and provided the requisite certifications, we will see many more players following similar business practices. 2021 will see greater transparency, more accountability and efficiency.
– The author is the creative head of SHRUTI SUSHMA, a fine jewellery brand based in India, established in 1997 by Sushma Chhajer. She is a jewellery designer and a graduate in diamond studies from the Gemological Institute of America.
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