Christmas has been a major occasion for gem and jewellery exporters and this time, the demand is crucial because of the slow growth seen so far in the current financial year.
In the first 7 months of 2018-19, gem and jewellery exports fell 4.4 per cent to $18.71 per cent. However, in October, there was a slight positive trend and exporters are anxious to see if the trend continues.
“The jewellery retail sales in the US are quite robust at the moment and we are expecting thriving business during Christmas this year. However, the European and the Middle East markets appear to be slightly soft and challenging,” said Hitesh Shah, Managing Director, Renaissance Jewellery.
Elaborating on the challenges of Europe and Middle-East markets, Shah said, "Jewellery as a category has to now compete with electronic gadgets, branded products and other lifestyle categories to gain a bigger share of the consumer wallet. Besides, other lifestyle products have better consumer-pull while jewellery as a product is having a challenging time in gaining consumer mind-share which is affecting exports to these markets at a time when their overall demand is sluggish."
Another challenge, according to him, is the emergence of lab-grown diamonds which is adding to the woes of the exporters. The exporters are currently negotiating all these hurdles in the business.
Colin Shah, Vice Chairman, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council explained that the overall the sector is not looking encouraging because of poor performance of exports of silver jewellery, gold medallions and coins.
Standalone exports of gold jewellery and cut and polished diamonds, which assume a significant part of gem and jewellery sector exports have done well.
Key export commodities cut and polished diamonds and gold jewellery have recorded a positive growth of around 8% and 44% during this FY.
There are a few commodities like coins, silver jewellery, pearls which recorded a sharp negative growth rate and indicated that gem and jewellery exports are declining, which is not true..