A glittering start to Chaturthi

Gold jewelry and consumer durables are among the most purchased items, says Serilda Coutinho 

Local jewelers are expecting a positive response from consumers in terms of the sales for the approaching Ganesh Chaturthi festival. “The festive season has just started 20 days back and the sales have gone up by 20-25 per cent as compared to the previous month. However in comparison to the past three to four years the sales have not gone up drastically,” says Vikram Verlekar, managing director, Ulhas jewelers.

The festive season for gold buyers in the state begins with Ganesh Chaturthi and, according to Verlekar the price of gold this year shot up unexpectedly. He feels that, the increase in gold rate will not affect the purchasing pattern as the metal continues to be consumer’s first preference in terms of investment.  Check out reveals that, the recent hike is around Rs 600 on 10 grams of gold in the state. The ongoing price for one gm of 22 karat gold is in the range of Rs 2956.

Expecting a spurt in purchases during the festive season, Chintamanis, Jewelers, Panjim are eyeing the festivity vibe to launch new patterns. “We are looking forward to a 50 per cent growth in sales during Chaturthi when buying gold is considered auspicious “says the store manager. He further adds that, in comparison to the previous year there is a slight drop in sales. “Locals are reluctant to spend on gold with the introduction of GST and due to the reduced cash flow,” points out the store manager.

Most gold jewelers, reveal that overall they are experiencing stagnant growth in sales in the festive season and the situation has only become tougher after the recent hike in prices. “Increase in price just prior to a festival does have a psychological impact on the consumer. It reduces their purchasing power,” observes Verlekar.

So to lure consumers, jewelers have introduced attractive offers.  Brands like the Gitanjali, Javeri’s and Ulhas Jewelers are offering discount on the making charge starting as low as 20 per cent and going up to 50 per cent. Similarly Chintamanis put up exhibitions to display their festive collection of Jadau jewelry. Along with discounts and exhibition there are raffles with lucky draws to customers depending upon the limit of the purchase made.

“We are giving exciting prices ranging from automobile to gadgets and free trips abroad to customers as we want them to get that extra benefit on their costly purchases” says jeweler from Margao.

Another trend that is picking up apart from gold buying is the monthly investment gold scheme. “We launched a new monthly installment scheme of 11 plus one month at our store recently, “says the  manager at Chintamanis, Panjim.

In case of consumer durable goods, Vivek Manohar Korde, owner, Korde Electricals, Ponda, says that the festival is started on a positive note. He says that, sales have doubled during the run-up to the festival. “Earlier consumers would save money for years to buy a TV in the house but thanks to the current purchasing power 50 per cent of my buyers have finance readily available to make their purchases.”

Korde further adds that, consumers generally purchase basic segment products like single door refrigerators, semi-automatic washing machines and 32 inch TV during chaturthi and save the high-end purchases for Diwali and New Year as that is the time when most get their salary bonus.

At CMM Arena megastore, Merces, brand manager, Vishwanath Bhat, said that, the store is witnessing a rise in customers opting for high value products like 4K TV sets and larger capacity refrigerators during Chaturthi.

“The sentiments attached to buying high value products during the auspicious festival is the reason why sales of consumer durables surge during the festival. Apart from that easily available finance options like EMI with zero down payment is encouraging customers to spend more and get a better product,” said Bhat.

Promotional schemes, lucky draws, best price offers and complementary gifts,  are some on the incentives on offer to lure in customers. “We cannot compare the previous festive season sales to this year because in 2017 the market was going through an economic slump post GST and demonetization,” says Bhat.

Recently the government lowered the GST rate on smaller appliances from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. According to Peter D’souza, owner, Preeti Electronics, “The drop in GST by 10 per cent did improve the sales in the beginning of august but with fall of the Rupee value against US Dollar the prices were hiked once again.”