Undeterred by a steep rise in retail gold prices, consumers thronged jewellery showrooms across the country on the Akshaya Tritiya today leading to the industry to expect a 10 per cent spike in sales on the auspicious occasion.
Gold prices continued to move northward, rising by Rs 135 for 10 grams today to close at Rs 31,290 per 10 grams. The precious metal had been on the rise for the past two-three days ahead of the big sales day.
While the domestic price increase has been partly due to a falling rupee, in the international market the same has been driven by a weak dollar, according to industry experts.
“The sales trend is positive across the country and the southern region has seen good response since morning. The rise in prices has boosted footfalls and sales further,” India Bullion & Jewellers Association director and chairman of P N Gadgil Jewellers, Saurabh Gadgil, told PTI.
He said, the main muhurat will begin from 3 pm and will last till 10 pm, when the maximum sales will take place.
“Also, being a working day, the muhurat is convenient. Looking at the current trend, the business is likely to be 10 per cent more than last year,” he added.
Gold has a special place in the Akshaya Tritiya celebrations and this year too, activity points to the return of positive sentiment, said Somasundaram PR, managing director at World Gold Council India.
All-India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council vice- chairman Anantha Padmanaban said the day began on a slow pace but gathered momentum towards the evening.
“We expect the momentum to gather speed late in the evening as today is a working day. Mostly business is brisk in the south. However, it slower in the north, central and the western regions.
“Looking at the trends from different parts we are expecting a 10 per cent growth in sales during this Akshya Tritiya compared to last year,” he added.
Mumbai-based jeweller Kumar Jain said the momentum is very good with high footfalls, which is not at all deterred by the rise in gold prices.
“Looking at the footfalls we are expecting 20 per cent more business than last year. Mainly, coins and light weight jewellery are getting picked up along with the traditional wedding jewellery,” he added.
Thrissur-headquartered Kalyan Jewellers chairman TS Kalyanaraman said the sales momentum has been good from the morning across his stores.
“We expect over 25 per cent growth in sales this year. Higher price does not seem to have dampened the spirit as a shift to the organised sector has boosted the market sentiment,” he said.
A combination of big-ticket wedding purchases coinciding with the Akshya Tritiya and also light weight purchases are doing well.
“We believe this momentum will continue into the evening. Among regions, business is bullish in Karnataka and Bengal with strong sales,” Kalyanaraman added.
Echoing the views, Sandeep Kulhalli, senior vice-president for marketing and retail at Titan said, “We performed well this Akshaya Tritiya compared to previous years, with volumes being much higher than expectation.”
The overall customer sentiment is quite positive in the metros, he added.
Malabar Gold & Diamonds chairman Ahammed MP said lightweight jewellery has emerged the fastest moving product category at their stores this season.
“The advance-booking trend has also been extremely healthy. Such an encouraging response validates the fact that consumers have finally put the after-effects of GST and note-ban firmly behind.
“Wedding jewellery purchases and rising prices have also contributed to higher sales today,” he added.
Ketan Chokshi, managing director of Vadodara-based Narayan Jewellers said the sharp rise in prices did not affect buying.
Chokshi hopes demand to increase by 5-10 per cent compared to previous two years after demonetisation and GST.
Saurabh Soni of Navin Jewellers said unlike with other metals, gold demand always rises with prices as it boosts customer sentiment.
Jewellers said demand for gold is expected to be buoyant this time around on stable economic factors like the prediction of a normal monsoon and an increase in the minimum support price for crops.
Market stabilisation in the aftermath of GST-related uncertainties, shift from unorganised to organised sector and customer-centric initiatives will also contribute in boosting sales, they said.
Jewellers have also been wooing customers with attractive offers, including free gold coins and diamonds on every purchase and a complete waiver or discounts on making charges.
WHP Jewellers’ Aditya Pethe said so far the season has been good this Akshaya Tritya.