Aliya Ladhabhoy

A decade ago, Indian consumers were mostly oblivious to platinum. Today, it’s perceived as the most valued metal in the Indian jewellery market, thanks to an extensive marketing campaign done right.

A predominantly gold-consuming nation, India’s jewellery consumption pattern is gradually changing. While gold jewellery sales were down one per cent in 2018, as reported by the World Gold Council, platinum jewellery’s demand rose 26 per cent, reported Platinum Guild International’s India Platinum Jewellery Business Review 2019.

“The platinum market in India has witnessed consistent growth on the back of our strong trade and marketing initiatives and is expected to grow 15 to 20 per cent in the current year,”

Vaishali Banerjee, Managing Director India, Platinum Guild International (PGI).

Vaishali Banerjee, Managing Director India, Platinum Guild International (PGI)
Vaishali Banerjee, Managing Director India, Platinum Guild International (PGI)

The review established that the ongoing marketing campaign, kickstarted in 2009, focused on love and occasion-driven purchases, has created an emotional connect with consumers, and has directly influenced platinum jewellery’s demand in the last decade. The campaign gained momentum with the introduction of new platinum products such as couple rings, bridal necklace sets, everyday jewellery items such as earrings and bracelets and chains for men.

To that effect, PGI invested four times more on promotions in India than in China. The former is the fastest growing platinum market and the latter is the largest consumer of platinum. It’s sales, however, declined by one per cent last year.

PGI India's new digital campaign #MyFirstEvara
PGI India’s new digital campaign #MyFirstEvara

The sales campaign has been so effective that consumers now perceive platinum as the highest valued metal, despite being cheaper than gold (As on June 30, platinum cost Rs2,459/gm and gold Rs3,420/gm). Orra, one of PGI’s oldest platinum partners in India, reported a sales growth of 40 per cent in 2018. “Over the years, the demand for platinum has been strong and is on the rise,” says Vijay Jain, Founder of the brand.

“Back in 2009, platinum as a category barely existed in India’s jewellery market,” says Banerjee. The task at hand was to build completely new category. PGI identified its target audience – the growing affluent urban young, and unique spaces that platinum could occupy, which the yellow medal hadn’t been able to.

The promotion campaign has been so effective that the traditionally gold-crazy nation now perceives platinum as the highest valued metal, despite being cheaper than gold

PGI also worked closely with stakeholders of the jewellery market to educate people about the merits of the metal, create a unique purpose for platinum jewellery consumption and project the metal as both, rare and precious.

2019 Platinum Jewellery Business Review by Platinum Guild International
2019 Platinum Jewellery Business Review by Platinum Guild International

In its launch year, the marketing organisation launched Platinum Days of Love, a romantic narrative, pitching platinum rings as a token of passionate companionship. “It tapped into a modern couple’s desire for jewellery that represents their kind of love – contemporary love that is equal and mutual,” says Banerjee. Even today, Platinum Love Bands is the largest selling category. “The bands are not just preferred by young but also by older couples who seek to renew their wedding vows, says Jain.

In 2015, PGI entered the rapidly growing branded bridal jewellery segment with Evara which is positioned as a perfect wedding gift.

Platinum Love Bands and Evara also served as entry points into the men’s jewellery segment. Retailers reported a growth in the demand for chains and necklaces for men. Orra reported a 47 per cent year-on-year growth in the category. The demand is not just for standard, simple designs but also for more elaborate and dual-toned jewellery, confirms Jain.

Platinum Evara for Men
Platinum Evara for Men

In fact, the platinum men’s jewellery category has been growing at the same rate as the market at 26 per cent, enthusing more jewellers to sell platinum baubles.

Kalyan Jewellers, better known for its gold and diamond offerings, included platinum jewellery to its inventory 18 months ago, attracting young millennials, says TS Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers. The move also helped them offer more something different to their existing, well-travelled clients, looking for something new. Offering everyday
jewellery such as earrings, chains, pendant sets and bracelets also upped the sales.

Deepika Padukone wearing platinum earrings
Deepika Padukone wearing platinum earrings

Jewellers in other parts of the country have also reported increased sales. “Most of our new walk-in consumers in the recent times have been for platinum jewellery,” says Arpit Rastogi, Director & Owner, Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Lucknow. “A jeweller who doesn’t have platinum tens to lose a new customer. This showcases how strongly the metal has emerged as an aspirational product in the last few years,” adds Rastogi.

The desire to own platinum goes beyond tier-1 cities. Hence, PGI India plans to scale its retail distribution in tier-2 and tier-3 cities this year. Looking at the current purchasing trends, the marketing organisation expects strong demand in bridal, men’s jewellery and self-purchase categories to drive the growth in 2019.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • The sales of platinum in India grew by 26 per cent last year.
    • The sales of gold declined by one per cent during the same time.
    • Japan and USA, the other two big platinum-consuming nations, reported one per cent and 11 per cent hike in sales respectively.

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