I had the privilege of covering the India International Jewellery Show in Mumbai and got some unexpected feedback from exhibitors about the market
Mumbai during the monsoon season? Sure, why not! But only if it means I can attend the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), the country’s most important jewelry trade fair, which took place Aug. 4–8.
So, in between the erratic and aggressive rainstorms, I walked the show and interviewed exhibitors, particularly ones with interest in American retailers. Many were loose-diamond companies—not too surprising—though most were makers of finished jewelry. Some of what they told me, however, shocked me more than the traffic situation. Here’s a bit of what I learned while working the show.
The direct-to-consumer phenomenon is starting to surface in India. With regard to selling to Americans, some firms such as Yunysha, an Indian jewelry-maker, plans to appeal directly to consumers because he is certain they will appreciate traditional Indian designs.
Some Indian diamantaires aim to better touch the consumer’s heart. In an effort to drive sales and increase interest among millennial shoppers and retail accounts, larger diamond houses are developing savvier online sales and diamond transparency efforts (think Venus Jewel, a story that will be told soon online) as well as more content marketing to drive home the stories they want their stones to tell.
Indian millennials are less interested in jewelry than their parents. This is a shocker to me, as India has arguably always appeared to be a strong market for jewelry sales. “There’s been lot of change,” explained Romy Mehta, president of Bapalal Keshavlal. “In India we have lots of private clients, but wedding jewelry sales have declined maybe 20 percent over last year.”
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