KOLKATA: NRI business has not been very encouraging this year for gold jewellery. A weak rupee coupled with high import duty and high gold premium has not only affected the domestic consumption but also made Indian jewellery less attractive to NRIs, who come to India during July-August for holidays.
On the contrary, Indian platinum and diamond-studded jewellery were a big draw among the NRIs because they prefer Indiacentric designs in diamond jewellery segment.
Haresh Soni, chairman of All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), said: "NRI business has not been good this year. Usually, we get good business from them when they come down to India. But the high import duty on gold has restricted NRIs to enter the market this year. They have gone to Dubai where import duty is only 1% and Indian designs are available."
However, Rajiv Popley, director of Mumbaibased Popley & Sons, said: "NRI sales were not very disappointing. There was some business in July and August. We are now delivering jewellery against orders that were placed in July and August. With rupee quoting low vis-a-vis dollar, NRIs had more disposable funds in their hands to buy jewellery."
In Kerala, which is regarded as the gold capital of the country, NRI purchase was low compared to 2012. "This was not due to gold prices going up in the Indian market but because Ramadan was advanced this year. Moreover, the Ramayana month that came in July also kept away NRIs from purchasing gold," said Amjad Hussain, marketing director, Malabar Gold.
However, sales have picked up in Kerala for Onam that kicked off on September 16. "We are pinning hopes on Onam. The next season when NRIs buy gold jewellery is November-December. The world economy is showing signs of recovery and we expect good sales during that period," Hussain added.
Interestingly, platinum and diamond-studded jewellery are a big hit among NRIs. Vijay Jain, CEO of Orra, said: "The making charge of diamond jewellery in India is much less. Therefore, NRIs find it attractive to shop from India. Above all, they like the designs that are very India-centric. From April to July, we have witnessed a same store sales growth of 40%."