The jewellery industry, which has come to a standstill due to the lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic, is expecting complete sales washout on the day of Akshaya Tritiya on Sunday as compared to last year, even as many retailers are doling out innovative offers to attract customers.
"This year Akshaya Tritiya has fallen within the lockdown 2.0, which will result in complete shutdown of jewellery shops. Whatever sales will take place will be on the digital platform only," All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council Chairman Anantha Padmanabhan said.
"We are expecting 97-98 per cent decline in business this year on the day of the festival compared to last year," he added.
He said jewellers have come out with innovative offers to attract customers for digital purchases, including locking of prices, gold ownership certificates, among others.
"Any physical delivery or purchase will happen after the lockdown. We expect the industry will gradually limp back to normalcy with May and June being extremely slow. We expect the demand to peak during Diwali," he added.
Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, is an annual spring time festival considered auspicious in many regions (especially in the south and the west) for beginning new ventures, marriages, expensive investments such as in gold.
PNG Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director Saurabh Gadgil said that for the first time ever, gold buying on Akshaya Tritiya will be completely online.
"The turnout will not be like last year and jewellers are doing business by offering e-vouchers, e-certificates as physical buying and delivery at present is not possible due to the lockdown," he said.
Jewellers are also offering a price-lock as gold is ruling at around Rs 48,000 per 10 grams, and will go up further as stocks will dwindle due to absence of imports on account of lockdown.
Kalyan Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director T S Kalyanaraman said this year's sales cannot be compared to regular sales during Akshaya Tritiya.
Unlike in the past years, Kalyan Jewellers does not have a full-fledged Akshaya Tritiya campaign this year, he said.
"Over the past 25 odd years, Akshaya Tritiya has always been about buying gold at the showroom. However, this year, owing to a change in status quo with the lockdown, we have launched the 'Gold Ownership Certificate' to keep the annual gold purchase tradition going," he added.
However, considering the limited time since the announcement of Kalyan Jeweller's Akshaya Tritiya offering and given the current circumstances, the company is expecting to clock about 10 per cent of its usual Akshaya Tritiya sales this year, he said.