The market for jewellery in India is unique: Joy Alukkas, CMD, Joyalukkas

Hailed as the world’s favourite jeweller, Joyalukkas is one the biggest jewellery retailer with more than 130 showrooms across the globe. Chairman and Managing Director of the brand, Mr. Joy Alukkas shares his views and opinion about the markers, demonetization, GST and more.

Joyalukkas has grown by leaps and bounds in last 30 years, Mr. Joy Alukkas, the founder and chairman of the company envisioned the name to a global level. He went on to become one of the most powerful jewellery retailers in the world. Speaking about the growth in jewellery demand and its triggers, Mr. Alukkas tells, “The market for jewellery in India is unique in that traditions trigger the demand. Weddings and festivals, for example, are prime drivers. And since weddings happen throughout the year and festivals are celebrated annually, jewellery will always be sought after.”

According to Mr. Alukkas the jewellery demand has slightly increased in 2017 and also “changing”. Tastes are getting more sophisticated, so retailers need to be on top of global trends. “There’s also a huge audience now for online sales, and we are strengthening our position here, partnering with online retailers and shoring up our own website to handle e-commerce. It’s a buyer’s market now, wherever you go. Our challenge now is to be where the buyers are and meet their ever-changing requirements,” explains Mr. Alukkas.

At the 15th GST council meeting on June 3, the much awaited GST rates were announced introducing a new tax slab for the gems and jewellery industry. Amidst lots of debate about how GST has impacted the prices for consumers, Mr. Alukkas explains, “GST on jewellery is now 3 per cent , whereas customers earlier paid a 1 per cent VAT. However gold trade bodies all across India have come together and decided to pass on the benefit of GST to customers which have thus reduced gold & jewellery prices for them.”

Likely, he has also noticed a change in buying habits post GST. “Where some customers used to buy in bulk during promotion periods, they now buy less but in greater frequency throughout the year. There are also fewer impulse buyers now. Everyone is looking for quality and purity over quantity, and we at Joyalukkas welcome this as an opportunity to offer better value selections. In the longer term, we expect GST to benefit consumers with improved quality controls and a more transparent pricing policy across the industry,” states Mr. Alukkas.

Submission of PAN number is made compulsory for all transactions above `2 lakh that has been one of the biggest concern for the jewellery industry. However, taking this move positively, Mr. Alukkas tells, “As a measure to prevent money laundering and tax evasion, the use of the PAN Card is currently mandatory for transactions over `2 Lakh. We adhere to this strictly and we have also seen customers are not really inconvenienced because of this.”

The Government plans to make the hallmarking regulations compulsory for all gold jewellery sold in country next year. “We already have a 100 per cent hallmark policy on all gold & diamonds sold across all Joyalukkas showrooms. Hallmark assures gold & jewellery buyers of its quality and whether it becomes mandatory or not we intend to continue to strictly adhere to this policy, Quality & trust is the one of key requirement to build long term relationships with our customers so we will take all means available to ensure this,” tells Mr. Alukkas.

Speaking about the outlook on gold price Mr. Alukkas explains, “Gold prices are driven by several factors, most important of which is demand from various industries. The jewellery industry alone accounted for 47 per cent of the demand for gold in 2016, according to the World Gold Council. However, the recent months have seen an increase in demand from the investments sector.” He opines that though retail performance may seem to be slowing down, gold prices could still increase because there is a demand for it elsewhere. “We expect this trend to continue through 2018 and beyond.”