The Indian ecommerce industry has always been surrounded by skeptics. The naysayers believed that consumers won’t accept a shopping trend that lacks ‘touch and feel’ element. And how wrong were they because it is now one of the biggest ecommerce industries in the world. Then the skepticism moved to specific product categories – people won’t buy lingerie or grocery or furniture or large appliances online. Buyers proved them wrong too.
Jewellery is one such category that many believed that people won’t be comfortable buying online. To everyone’s surprise, this ecommerce vertical is growing from strength to strength. Several reports hint at that the online jewellery market might reach $3.6 billion (20% of the global market) in the next 3 years. It still is a highly fragmented market, but the online share is increasing steadily.
“Indian consumers prefer to touch and feel the jewellery before buying, but the change in consumer behaviour will happen quite fast,” had said Mehul Choksi, chairman of Gitanjali, which is one of the major jewellery brands in the world.
He was right because sellers of all kinds have benefitted from this change in consumer behavior. Don’t believe us? The insightful seller stories of Kriaa’s Ritesh N. Barbhaya and AuGrav’s Vivek Krishna illustrate the growing popularity of the online jewellery segment.
“Online jewellers like us have leveraged technology and innovation to address some of the barriers to buying jewellery online… Our try-at-home channel appeals to consumers who would rather buy something in the comfort of their own home,” asserts jewellery etailer CaratLane’s spokesperson while speaking to IndianOnlineSeller (IOS).
The spokesperson adds,
“One of our recent apps – the Perfect Look app, gives customers another innovative way to virtually try on earrings in three dimension (3D)… It is the world’s first 3D virtual try on jewellery app.”
With high global exposure and the internet, the young, independent and aspirational women of today (largest target group) demand more than the ordinary. This desire is being easily fulfilled by online jewellery stores that have the bandwidth to offer a wide range of products for all age-groups, budget, occasions and personal style.
“I think the pricing is a challenge in some regions as, in the market people are still present who are ready to break the profitability of the market just to show that they exist. Breaking the profitability is an individual step but that step should be taken with a long term vision,” elucidates Patel while speaking to IOS.
However, the biggest roadblock that sellers face is buyer’s distrust. Ecommerce players in this segment are trying their best to win buyers’ trust. But there’s still a long way to go before people stop feeling anxious while buying jewellery online.
“I think from my stats demonetisation has not affected us. Yes, total number of footfall has decreased. But I guess it’s temporary. In India, we still have mentality of saving money. And buying gold is the one of the best option available,” he shares.
“After demonetisation there was a sudden fall in sales due to panic situation for around 15 days. But after that it came on track. Number of footfall has decreased by 25%. But at the same time people have started paying by cheque. People do have money in the bank. It’s just that people wanted to spend cash first. Now due to lack of cash they directly give cheque. Post demonetisation we have seen 5-10% increase in total sales amount.”
Caratlane too revealed that cash crunch had insignificant effect on its business.
“While we saw a significant impact on sales in the first 3-4 days immediately after demonetisation, sales picked up subsequently both online and at our stores and we went on to deliver a very healthy revenue growth for the month. Our customer profile is such that most of them used to anyway pay by credit or debit cards. So the impact on sales due to demonetisation has been fairly insignificant,” says the company representative.
The potential of online jewellery market in India is huge as we are the land of festivals, where every big occasion calls for jewellery. Niche players and marketplaces are on the right track in terms of using technology, artificial intelligence, developing new products & designs and attracting the growing creed of online buyers. What needs work is fixing the issues that sellers’ face while maintaining quality of the products.