COVID-19 Effect: Akshaya Tritiya A Lacklustre Affair, Jewellers Go Digital To Attract Customers 

Representational Image - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI /HYDERABAD: Akshaya Tritiya turned out to be a lacklustre affair for the the jewellery industry, which has come to a standstill due to the lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic. There was complete sales washout on Sunday as compared to last year’s Akshaya Tritiya, despite many retailers doling out innovative offers to attract customers.

This year Akshaya Tritiya has fallen within the lockdown 2.0, which resulted in a complete shutdown of jewellery shops. Whatever sales will take place will be on the digital platform only," All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council Chairman Anantha Padmanabhan said. "We are expecting 97-98 per cent decline in business this year on the day of the festival compared to last year," he added.

But jewellers have come out with innovative offers to attract customers for digital purchases, including locking of prices, gold ownership certificates, among others.

"Any physical delivery or purchase will happen after the lockdown. We expect the industry will gradually limp back to normalcy with May and June being extremely slow. We expect the demand to peak during Diwali," he added.

Kalyan Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director T S Kalyanaraman said this year''s sales cannot be compared to regular sales during Akshaya Tritiya. Unlike in the past years, Kalyan Jewellers does not have a full-fledged Akshaya Tritiya campaign this year, he said.

"Over the past 25 odd years, Akshaya Tritiya has always been about buying gold at the showroom. However, this year, owing to a change in status quo with the lockdown, we have launched the ''Gold Ownership Certificate'' to keep the annual gold purchase tradition going," he added.

Meanwhile down South in the city of pearls Hyderabad, jewellers feel that if the current COVID-19 lockdown continues, even Diwali may not be able to bring back the sparkle to gold business. With reports of pay cuts, layoffs and financial stress, how will money flow into the market? Gold is a luxury item, and people’s priority will be to buy essentials first and meet their rising expenditures,” says Hari Kishan Gupta, former president of the Twin Cities Jewellers Association said while speaking to leading Telangana daily.

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, is an annual spring time festival considered auspicious in many regions (especially in the south and the west) for beginning new ventures, marriages, expensive investments such as in gold.

Jewellers are also offering a price-lock as gold is ruling at around Rs 48,000 per 10 grams, and will go up further as stocks will dwindle due to absence of imports on account of lockdown. (With inputs from PTI)

Also Read: COVID-19 Effect: Remittances To India Likely To Decline In 2020: World Bank

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