Platinum Jewellery Craze Increasing among Indians

Indian men like gold and silver jewellery, but nowadays they prefer platinum, reveals a survey. The survey was conducted by the Platinum Guild International (PGI) in cities such as Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi to have an understanding of men’s lifestyle and mindset towards purchasing and wearing jewellery especially platinum.
The survey focused on men in the age groups of 25-31 years and 33-45 years. The common factor in both the age groups is that they want financial security that leads to an increase in jewellery buying sentiments, said a statement.
“Quality time is spent on evaluating the highest quality hallmarked jewellery that is of great value and offers differentiated designs,” says Vaishali Banerjee, Country Manager India, PGI.
“Through the ages, the most discerning of men have preferred platinum when it came to their jewellery. Young men today are not only looking at bands in platinum, but are also taking to platinum chains, and bracelets. The look of platinum and its weight appeals to men as it is understated, yet sophisticated and elegant and those who own it are considered ahead of the curve,” she adds.
Banerjee says, “Platinum men’s jewellery is a very new category and coming from a very low base, it is now seeing very high growth. There are a lot of enquiries for men’s jewellery and retailers are seeing a lot of walk-ins and new buyers. New markets have nearly doubled and others have seen a 40-50% consumer offtake.”
As per the survey, investment purchase in precious metals is prevalent across all age groups.
Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai ranked at the top as the consumers in these cities buy more jewellery, while in Gujarat; men prefer gold coins, biscuits and then jewellery.
Young men consider wearing jewellery as a symbol of adulthood, a trend noticeable in Delhi.
Indian men from upper middle class, who are in the age group of 25-40 years, are embracing platinum so much that men’s jewellery today contributes to nearly 12% of the overall share of platinum jewellery sales.
Retailers like Joyalukkas, Malabar Gold & Diamond, TBZ and Orra say that though south Indian men were the first to take the plunge, the platinum fever has now caught up with men from northern and western India as well.
Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra, says, “In urban India, men now prefer platinum to gold as they feel that the metal talks about their personality. Men find platinum more contemporary and global. This year, platinum has done extremely well and platinum love bands have emerged as a must for engagements in urban India. Diamond-studded platinum jewellery is popular among the young generation. We have witnessed a 30% same-store growth in platinum and in men’s ring category; there has been a growth of 35-40%.”
“Men’s jewellery in platinum includes rings, chains and bracelets.”Even platinum cufflinks have become popular these days. Buyers prefer diamond-studded platinum bracelets and rings. In Chennai and Bangalore, platinum jewellery has gained a lot of popularity among the Muslim community,” says Joy Alukkas, chairman and managing director of Joyalukkas Group.
The changing perception towards platinum has encouraged younger aspirants to own a piece, as had been the case for gold until recently. There are two basic reasons for the change. Consumers have begun to feel platinum is available and affordable. Second, jewellers have widened the availability of ornaments.
In addition, platinum coins have become an investment option, without any restriction on sales unlike the case of gold coins, where the Reserve Bank of India has been monitoring continuously.
Among the rising demand in platinum jewellery, love bands (couple rings), women’s chain/pendants and men’s chain or bracelet are the most popular. Banerjee says platinum jewellery demand rose a little over 30 per cent in 2013.
It is also used in photography. The implication of rising platinum demand is evident on imports. According to MehulChoksi, chairman of Gitanjali Gems, a jewellery retailer with global presence, import of platinum was around 40 tonnes this year as compared to around 18 tonnes last year. He says the restrictions on gold will further raise platinum demand.
The import of gold in India has been severely compressed in the current fiscal, as a result of tight restrictions imposed by the country’s government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). As a result, gold jewellery business in the country was hit badly. On the other hand, platinum jewellery sales continued its steady growth all through the year.
To contain rising gold imports, the customs duty on gold imports were hiked thrice during the year from 4% at the start of the year to 10%. The 80:20 rule linked exports to gold imports, making it mandatory for gold importers to supply at least 20% of their imports to exporters.
The country’s primary import source of Platinum is South Africa. Almost 80% of the imported Platinum comes from South Africa. Russia is the second largest exporter of Platinum to India, accounting for 12% of total imports. Out of the total platinum imports, only 35% is utilized by the jewellery sector, whereas the remaining is used for industrial purposes.
The jewellery industry in India is estimated at $30 billion annually, as suggested by data. Gold still dominates with a market share of 75%, followed by diamonds at 15%. Platinum is way behind with 1% estimated market share.
According to jewellers, platinum sales have been growing at around 25% over the past few years. Platinum is a growing market which has a long way to go. With gold demand expected to remain subdued, the sale of platinum jewellery may take a turn for the better.

Online shopping hits record high in 2013
The coming year 2014, on the other hand looks more promising for the online industry. Factors like spiraling inflation and slower economic growth failed to dampen the online shopping trends of Indian consumers and have witnessed a significant change in 2013, recorded 85% rise in online trends over the regular shopping than last year (65%), reveals ASSOCHAM latest paper.
The increasing Internet penetration and availability of more payment options boosted the e-commerce industry in 2013. Besides electronics gadgets, categories like apparel and jewellery, home and kitchen appliances, lifestyle accessories like watches, books, beauty products and perfumes, baby products have witnessed a significant upward movement in last one yearh, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM. The coming year 2014, looks more promising for the online industry, added Mr. Rawat.
Mr. Rawat said, India’s e-commerce market was worth about $2.5 billion in 2009, it went up to $6.3 billion in 2011 and to $16 billion in 2013 and is expected to touch whopping $56 billion by 2023 which will be 6.5 per cent of the total retail market.
As per feedback received by 3,500 traders & organized retailers in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahemdabad, Kolkata etc in this regard, the buying trends during 2013 have witnessed a significant upward movement due to aggressive online discounts, rising fuel price and wider and abundant choice etc.
The survey reveals Mumbai have left behind all other cities in India shopping online. While Delhi ranks second, Kolkata ranks third in their preference for online shopping in 2013, adds the survey.
The reasons for online shoppers number multiplying are because of factors such as home delivery which saves time, secondly 24×7 hours shopping with ease and availability factors for product comparisons.
The survey further adds that many small companies have also established online stores for group buying, which enable customers to obtain goods at a discount so long as a certain number of people make the purchases. Mr. Rawat said, shopping centers, whole sale markets and supermarkets should create their online stores to reduce costs and develop product-tracking systems.
Among the above age segments, 18-25 years of age group has been the fastest growing age segment online with user growth being contributed by both male and female segments. The top 5 popular categories accessed online are social networking, portals, search, entertainment and news sites, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.
The survey highlights that 35% of regular shoppers are in 18-25 age group, 55% in 26-35, 8% in 36-45 and 2% in the age group of 45-60. 65% of online shoppers are male as against 35% female.
Seeing this bold consumer behavior, more companies are collaborating with such daily deal and discount sites. Even traditional retailers like Shoppers Stop, Westside and Pantaloons are looking at the online shopping space for growth, adds the paper.
With more India’s online shopping registering a phenomenal 100 per cent annual growth, many retail chains and consumer durable companies are joining the Web bandwagon to tap the e-shopping market, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.
The products that are sold most are in the tech and fashion category, which include mobile phones, ipad and accessories, MP3 players, digital cameras and jewellery, among others, points out the paper.
Most products bought & sold off through online comprise Gift articles (58%), books (42%), electronic gadgets (41%), railway tickets (39%), accessories apparel (36%), apparel (36%), computer and peripherals (33%), airline tickets (29%), music (24%), movies tickets (26%), hotel rooms (20%), magazine (19%), home tools and products (16%), home appliances (16%), toys (16%), jewelry (15%), beauty products (12%), health and fitness products (12%), apparel gift certificates( 10%) and sporting goods (7%), adds the survey.
India has internet base of around 150 million as of August, 2013. Having close to 10% of internet penetration in India throws a very big opportunity for online retailers to grow and expand as future of internet seems very bright. Getting new users, more sales and making “million dollars story is not limited to US now”, added Mr. Rawat while releasing the paper.
This business module is cost effective, easily accessible and profitable in many functional areas. Consumers and retailers both desire safe, simple and comprehensive online shopping that will truly realize the range of power of the Internet, add the majority of the respondents.
Of those who are reluctant to shopping online cited various reasons like prefer to research products and services online and then actually buy them from a store (30 per cent), find delivery costs too high (20 per cent), don’t want to share personal financial information online (25 per cent), lack of trust on whether products would be delivered in good ondition (15 per cent), don’t have a credit/debit card (10 per cent).