is poised to topple the United States (US) to become the second largest market for De Beers' Forevermark brand of diamonds this year as the company expects to more than double its sales volume in this country this year.
China, the brand's leading market, accounts for 50 per cent of sales volume, with US
each accounting for 15 per cent. This year, however, India's contribution to the brand's global sales will increase to 20-25 per cent.
"Last year, our sales volume in India
stood at 60,000 pieces. This year, we expect this volume to increase and range between 100,000 to 130,000 pieces, thereby, making India
the second largest sales volume generator for the Forevermark brand," said Stephen Lussier, chief executive officer of the Forevermark brand and the executive vice president of marketing at the De Beers Group.
According to a report prepared by the Indian Commodity Exchange Limited, India, US
are the three major diamond
consuming countries across the globe.
"We are expanding the use of advanced technology on smaller diamonds that will reduce costs from the existing 14 cent to 10 cent and will enable bringing in smaller daily-wear diamonds in our portfolio in India
too", Lussier said.
The De Beers group
in India, via the Forevermark portfolio, has been focusing on the daily-wear category and has avoided delving much into the wedding and celebration collection. This year, the company will be focusing more on rolling out designs at lower price points with 10 cent diamonds being introduced as against its existing catalogue.
A company official said that the Forevermark cannot be inscribed on diamonds less than 10 cents- a factor that will make it impossible for the brand to roll out products in the sub-10 cent price point.
At present, its products in India
are priced at Rs. 25,000 at the lower end and it scales up to Rs. 25,00,000.
Lussier said diamond
prices in India, as per the global trend, is poised to remain at 2016 price levels this year. The average global price realisation for the Forevermark is between $2,500 to $3,000 apiece.
As per the official, the jewellers' strike and demonetisation
last year, had impacted the company's revenue growth but its volume growth was significant at 80 per cent on a year-on-year basis. This year, Lussier expects improved consumer spend and traction in the 2-diamond
ring category that is expected to boost its sales.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, had on an earlier occasion expressed concerns saying: "The unpredictability of the world in which we live was emphasised by Prime Minister Modi's surprise demonetisation
programme in November (last year). This obviously has much more direct relevance to the diamond
sector and it is likely that we will continue to experience the impact in the Indian industry in the coming months, even if the programme yields a positive outcome in the long run".
The Forevermark currently has a 20 per cent market share in the price segment it operates in. This price segment accounts for 35 per cent of the total diamond
market in India.
It also plans to increase its presence from 200 stores to 230 by the end of 2017 and will come up with three more exclusive outlets in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata apart from its exclusive store in Bangalore.
Forevermark's growth trajectory in India
will be to snatch the market share in the generic diamond
category following the roll out the goods and services tax (GST) regime from July 1.