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Diamonds are forever: Putting the sparkle in India’s branded jewellery market

Diamonds are forever: Putting the sparkle in India’s branded jewellery market

Author | Shikha Saroj | Thursday, Feb 16,2006 7:49 AM

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Diamonds are forever: Putting the sparkle in India’s branded jewellery market

For years, when it came to jewellery, Indians have always had a fascination for gold, not just as something to adorn themselves with, but also as an investment, an ideal gift, status symbol and a symbol of celebrations that are so intrinsic to the Indian tradition.

However, the past few years have witnessed significant changes in both the Indian economy and the psyche of Indian consumers. What was earlier bought primarily as a means of investment slowly changed to being considered as a symbol of indulgence. With a booming economy, purchasing things out of necessity changed to purchasing things to have a better lifestyle, and functional products turned into fashionable products.

The reasons for buying jewellery have also changed and how. The market is seeing a surfeit of jewellery, and not limited to the yellow metal alone. Now there is a mindboggling array of platinum and diamond jewellery to choose from. In fact, gold jewellery has had to take a back seat even as diamond jewellery became the consumers’ best friend.

With rising popularity, it became inperative for retail diamond jewellery companies to first educate consumers about buying diamonds and then catching their attention by providing quality designs at competitive prices.

Said Cherie Tandon Saldanha, Marketing Director, India, DTC, “Wearing a diamond makes a woman feels beautiful from within, desired and loved, it gives her the inner confidence and sparkle. Buying a diamond means investing in a piece of eternity as a diamond is not only a sound financial investment, but also one of life’s deepest emotional investments that can be passed down for generations. Also, no gem captures and symbolises emotions and important moments in life more perfectly than a diamond.”

Size of the industry

The estimated size of the overall jewellery market in India is between Rs 50,000 crore and Rs 60,000 crore. According to DTC’s estimates, the diamond market in India is about Rs 6,000 crore and this segment has shown a collective growth of 50 per cent over the last two years, thus making India the fastest growing diamond jewellery market in the world and the third largest consumer of diamonds after the US and Japan.

There is a definite growth in the demand for diamond-studded jewellery, especially as a fashion accessory. The growth was initially in the metros, but a study conducted by DTC revealed that during the last year, growth has been reported from smaller towns like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Kanpur, Ranchi, Vishakhapatnam, Pune and Surat, where the demand for diamond studded jewellery has grown by between 25 per cent and 35 per cent.

The players and their brand positioning

The Gitanjali Group is one of the largest, and fully integrated diamond and jewellery manufacturing and retailing companies in India that successfully manages four of the 10 best-known jewellery brands in India today. The four brands – Asmi, Nakshatra, D’Damas and Gili – are unique with structured positioning and branding that endows each with a unique brand persona and character.

Commenting on the challenge of diamond jewellery companies differentiating their brand from others, Mehul Choksi, Chairman, Gitanjali Group, said, “We have a track record of success in our diamond and bullion business, and we have taken a forward integration initiative of branding of jewellery products with a long term perspective. Today, each of our brands enjoys significant brand equity in their respective market segments. This has been developed due to our substantial diamond processing and strong jewellery design and manufacturing capabilities, which has been further enhanced through aggressive advertising and marketing campaigns. Our wide retail distribution operation – 620 outlets across the country – is another strong point that makes us stand apart from the rest. With this, we are able to effectively reach to our diversified customers spread across the country.”

Tanishq’s USP has been ‘revitalising tradition’, which they have successfully achieved by understanding the Indian woman’s psyche and the cultural influences in her life.

Abhijit Achwal, Head of Marketing and Advertising, Tanishq, said, “Tanishq’s diamond jewellery is an interpretation of designs that are contemporary yet traditional, suiting the mood of all Indian women. Our strength also lies in our extensive retail network spread over 80 Tanishq showrooms across 59 cites. Our region specific designs that cater to varying consumer needs and sensibilities help market the right product for the targeted consumer. Tanishq Design Studio has several national and international award-winning designers who create designs relevant to the customers and set new trends in jewellery.”

Focus on communication

Another important and interesting aspect is the aggressive media campaigns that each diamond jewellery company has communicated through. What was earlier only advertised through print and hoardings is now communicated through creative TVCs, joint promotions, radio, below the line marketing activities and electronic media.

Various diamond companies have roped in celebrities as brand ambassadors. Some of the well-known ambassadors that the Gitanjali Group has been associated with are Amitabh Bachchan, Lara Dutta, Akshay Kumar, Celina Jaitley, Suniel Shetty, Sheetal Malhar, and Mahima Choudhary for various D’damas brands. Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins, for Origin, Kajol for Asmi and Aishwarya Rai for Nakshatra. The company has also recently roped in Amrita Rao as the ambassador for its diamond brands.

While Tanishq does not have a permanent brand ambassador, they have roped in actresses and other personalities to endorse products from time to time. While Dia Mirza promoted the Tanishq Diamond sets ‘Life’s Little Celebrations’ offer, and Debasree Roy endorsed Tanishq for the offer during Durga Puja.

Said Tanishq’s Achwal, “Our communication is driven towards highlighting our rich understanding of the Indian woman and the cultural influences in her life; and true to our brand promise, our marketing efforts are aimed at creating schemes, promotional offers and designs that suit the varied needs of the Indian consumers.”

The way forward

Although the overall branded segment in the diamond jewellery market in India is currently estimated to be about 2 per cent of the total market, this figure is growing rapidly. According to predictions by McKinsey, the branded jewellery market in India will grow by 40 per cent per annum to Rs 10,000 crore by 2010.

Achwal said, “The diamond studded jewellery market in the country definitely seems to be growing larger by the day. Its rate of growth has been higher in the past 4-5 years than ever before, as branded players have been creating awareness for diamonds and providing entry price point products for people to upgrade to. This has led to increased activity in this segment with a lot many more players jumping into the fray.”

There is immense potential for further growth given the sustained growth in the Indian economy and growing employment levels, income levels and availability of credit in India. All of this has resulted in greater consumer spending and disposable income, together with the strong growth in retail operations in India.

The increasing affluence and spending power among the middle and upper middle classes; the demand for more modern looking jewellery that could be used as a fashion accessory; and the need for a guarantee of authenticity while making purchases also provide a positive environment for branded diamond jewellery to grow in India.

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