Diamonds have not lost their sparkle in India owing to COVID-19 as diamond company Forevermark is seeing a revival in demand.
"Consumers are back to stores. Demand is coming back strongly. In Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru markets, we have seen 30 to 35 percent recovery and in tier-II markets, we are seeing 50 to 65 percent recovery,” said Sachin Jain, MD, De Beers India.
When it comes to footfalls in stores, Nancy Liu, CEO, Forevermark, gave a global perspective. “Since the easing of lockdown, footfalls in the US and China have grown from 40 to 60 percent," she noted.
And Jain said that a similar trend is seen in India.
Sanitisation procedures like names being taken before entry in the store for contact tracing, temperature checks and sanitisation of jewelry before a salesperson touches it are not only helping in keeping people safe but are also building consumer confidence which in turn is helping in increased transactions and conversions, Liu added.
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According to Jain, consumers are coming to stores to buy more which is why conversion rates have more than doubled in the current times.
“High-end consumers are buying big products like large-size diamonds and the middle class is more into simplistic meaningful products. Like there is a lot of demand for the design line which has a knot diamond that is reflective of a relationship,” said Jain.
Even on the manufacturing end, Jain said that since the government allowed opening of factories, their large laboratory in Surat started working with 30 percent capacity.
Despite no business in April and May, Jain is optimistic about this year and said that it wouldn’t be a bad year for the company.
He is confident about the festive period. “Delayed Diwali will help us give more time for manufacturing.
We are launching two big design ideas--- Tribute, a design line for women with multiple rings. Another design line we are launching, which we were going to launch in 2021 but have advanced the launch to this year, is called Icon, which is inspired by the brand logo,” he said.
Diamonds are sparkling in India
For Forevermark, India has been one of the fastest-growing markets and last year the country became number one market for the company in terms of volume, leaving behind US and China.
India contributes about 35 percent in terms of overall volume and out of the total 2,400 Forevermark stores across the world, there are as many as 25 to 30 percent in India.
One reason Forevermark in betting big on India is the country’s consumption of diamonds.
While the US is still consuming half the diamonds in the world, number two is China with close to 17.5 percent consumption, while India is about eight percent.
Last year, Forevermark sold between 250,000 to 260,000 diamonds in India and maintained its 30 percent year-on-year growth last year.
Showcasing diamonds virtually
Along with demand coming back, this year another interesting aspect for Forevermark was the ninth edition of the company’s forum going virtual.
During the forum, where new collections are displayed and partners of Forevermark meet each other, the company displayed over 1,700 designs with four key moods -- Urban Nature, Open Mind, La Suerte and Royal 2.0.
Forevermark during the forum also revealed some insights from a report that highlighted Indian consumer's behaviour.According to the report, while Indian consumers remain cautious of how they are spending, their appreciation for diamonds remains strong and their spending on jewellery especially among young women is highly prioritised among luxury spending categories.