By Shoma Patnaik | B&C
If you are planning to buy some gold jewellery, now could be a good time for it. Stores are going empty because of a seasonal slack, so personalised and undivided attention is on the cards for any customer stepping in.
According to market reports, June-July are traditionally dull periods for selling gold, perhaps because it coincides with end of the wedding season and also the beginning of the school year when householders are too preoccupied to think of the exorbitant metal. Says Mr Vikram Verlekar, president, Gold Traders Association and proprietor, Ulhas Jewellers, "This is the time of the year when there is very little of money circulating in the economy. The impact is felt in all products and gold is no exception."
Residents tend to save money and defer purchases to the forthcoming festive season that is still some way ahead. Points out Mr Deepak Nagvenkar, owner, Bombay Jewels and Gems, Panaji, "Each year we face sluggish sales in these two months, but this time it feels like the slump is a bit deep."
Consequently quite a few jewellers are offering discounts on the making charges hoping to boost sentiment or that it induces clients to loosen their purse strings. Ulhas Jewellers is offering a 51 per cent rebate on the making charge, an extremely good deal for shoppers. Says Mr Verlekar, "It is the highest discount that we have offered till now, which just goes to show how bad the slump that we are facing is."
On the other hand, Mr Athavale, store manager, Lagu Bandhu, Panaji, that is also offering a 20 per cent cut on the making charges says that, the discount is for Guru Pushya approaching on July 19, while in the same breadth conceding to "not being busy."
Points out Mr Nagvenkar, "Not all jewellers can afford to give discounts, especially those who use gold with 0.916 purity, as the wastages are more in genuine gold, that adds to our manufacturing costs."
So when will the gold purchases pick up again? "Only after August 15" is the reply from a city based gold smith who adds that the end of Shravan is when the outlook improves with the actual momentum building up from Ganesh Chaturthi and continues right upto Christmas when buying is at its peak.
As to the current trends in jewellery purchases, looking at the soaring price, it is obviously "light weight designs that put less pressure on the pockets," says Mr Athavale. "Earlier we offered a 10gm bangle to a customer, and they asked for it to be made in 20gm. Now they say, can you make it in 5gms."
Members of the gold jewellery fraternity agree and say that the demand for lower weight ornaments is also for marriages where the average weight of a necklace has come down 60gms to 30gms.
Meanwhile, gold continues to hold sway as an investment option for all segments of the populace. Explains Mr Verlekar, "When parents gift gold to their daughters during wedding, they do it for both-decorative as well as security reasons. Because it is an investment that will always increase in value."