Why millennials are choosing silver over gold this Valentine's Day.
Steep gold prices have weakened buying sentiment, not only for the middle class, but also for the rich and super-rich consumers in the 10-week season which began with Christmas and ends with Mother's Day on March 8.
While the middle class seem to have stopped placing new orders for bullion purchase, millennials have shifted to designer silver jewellery and low-value handcrafted gold ornaments this Valentine's Day to offset high prices with low-ticket size purchase.
"Many jewellery manufacturers and retailers have launched handcrafted pieces by designers in silver jewellery, which are studded with lucrative coloured gemstones, to attract customers.
"With a good finish, these have been the preferred choice for young couples this season.
"Low-ticket size basic ornaments such as rings, pendants, etc, are also selling, but not to the tune of silver jewellery this Valentine's Day," said Anantha Padmanaban, managing director, NAC Jewellers, a Chennai-based jewellery retailer.
Jewellers have started targeting millennials as potential customers for Valentine's Day with innovative designs of jewellery.
With a token money size cut to make ornaments affordable, jewellers have introduced silver jewellery with a heavy look, and which may also be stone studded, at a price point of Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000.
Rajendra Jain, managing director (gemstones), Swarovski India, said, "Many brands are targeting millennials through new collections of jewellery.
"Rather than for just one season, jewellers are trying to ensure that consumers buy again.
"This year, however, sharp increase in gold prices has turned consumers towards silver.
"However, instead of plain silver jewellery, consumers are looking at designers' pieces for occasional and daily wear," Jain added.
Gold prices have set a record, trading at Rs 40,500/10 grams on February 7, following global trends as geopolitical uncertainty, coupled with an economic downturn, made the bullion a safe haven investment avenue.
Silver, however, continues to trade at Rs 46,100/kg, which may be giving consumers the pride of owning a piece of precious metal without coughing up a large sum of money.
Silver prices retreated after surpassing the psychological barrier of Rs 50,000/kg recently.
Meanwhile, jewellery and fashion designers such as Gautam Banerjee, Rajiv Popley and Riyaz Gangji have introduced lucrative designs in fashion accessories and precious metals this Valentine's Day.
Jewellery sales in India have witnessed a steady decline over the past three-four years because of a sharp increase in customs duty to 10 per cent till the previous year, and 12.5 per cent thereafter.
Apart from that, the government has levied customs duty of 2.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent on rough and polished diamonds respectively.
To worsen the scenario further, the government has extended customs duty on coloured gemstones and also levied 18 per cent goods and services tax on hallmarking and certification of jewellery.