Purity, weight, make can’t be judged by everyone online
Delhiites say that they may be addicted to online shopping, but when it comes to buying jewellery on a festival like Dhanteras, or even otherwise, they only trust their “family jeweller” who they have been going to for generations. A survey by global research firm Ipsos reveals that more than 77% Indians withheld purchase decisions till Diwali in anticipation of heavy discounts. The report lists clothes as the topmost planned purchase, and the lowest on this list is jewellery/gold, with only 8% respondents planning to buy gold online.
Piyush Gupta, director of jewellery chain PP Jewellers, says, “While the popularity of online shopping and impressive festive discounts have impacted the business of brick-and-mortar stores in different segments like apparel, footwear and accessories, the same is not the case with jewellery. The majority of people still don’t buy gold or diamonds without visiting a shop. Jewellery is a luxury purchase and is an investment for any Indian household, so, they don’t want to take risks. They want to choose the best design, check on the purity of gold, see its make in reality and then make a decision. A piece of jewellery is something that you just cannot choose by seeing on screen.” Anil K Garg, senior vice president of Gold Souk in Gurgaon, adds, “When women buy jewellery, they want to feel and touch and see how it looks on them. Jewellery is a personal statement and they may even want to get it customized as per their choice, which isn’t possible in online purchases. Also, while buying precious metals, consumers pay a lot of attention to weight and purity, which can’t be assessed by all online. Each year on Dhanteras, we have customers flocking to jewellery stores in big numbers, and this year, there is a slight change in preferences too. Most women are buying diamonds instead of just gold.”
The trust factor
Aruna Sabharwal from New Friends Colony shops online frequently, but on Dhanteras, she will buy a “small piece of gold” from the jeweller she has been visiting for the last 10 years. She says, “Buying jewellery is not like buying clothes or footwear. For example, if you order a dress online and it doesn’t look as good as it did on screen, you can pass it on to someone. But that’s not the case with jewellery. Any piece of jewellery we buy, we do not discard after a few years, we can get something else of its value later. So, it is important that we buy jewellery from a shop where we can also get it exchanged at a fair price after a few years. I don’t even change jewellers, as each jeweller will tell you a different value for a piece of jewellery.”
As per tradition on Dhanteras, Anita Kapoor, a banker who stays in Lajpat Nagar, will buy a gold coin. While her daughter suggested that they buy it online, Anita didn’t agree. “I have a jeweller in Karol Bagh and every purchase of mine has been from his shop. My daughter’s first bali came from his shop, and so did her wedding jewellery, so why should I go anywhere else? I can just walk into the shop, say what I need, pick it up and come back without any doubt in mind. But if I order online, I’ll keep wondering if I’ve done the right thing or not,” she says.
Gurgaon-based jewellery designer Monica Kapoor says that when it comes to buying jewellery, even the younger lot will not do so without consulting their mothers, who will always suggest that they buy it from a trusted jeweller. “Young women may buy designer clothes and other things on their own, but when they buy jewellery, they do trust their mother’s jeweller mostly, especially when they are buying a set or something worth a few lakhs,” she tells us.
Design and customization
Women say that designs available online are “very average” and can easily be copied. “When you are spending a large amount on a necklace or a complete set, you want it to be exclusive. At a jeweller’s, you can see the variety, designs and can even get a design customized as per your taste. I only go to the jeweller who’s been visited by our family for generations, so that I don’t have to explain my taste or what I am looking for,” says Gurgaon-based Dildeep Kalra. Monika adds that some youngsters may buy a small ring or a pair of earrings online, but they do not buy anything else without checking a range of designs and what will suit them. “Jewellery is occasion wear, and women won’t buy a design which they feel that someone else can also have. Also, they first wear it and check how it looks on them.”
More investment than adornment
For most families, buying jewellery is a once-a-year tradition, and a gold coin or a piece of jewellery is an investment, says Banki Gupta, a housewife from Dwarka. “We do not buy jewellery for every occasion or wedding in the family. It is an asset for us, and we can’t buy it online without checking its purity and certification,” she says.
Aruna says that one of her friends ordered earrings online, but when delivered, she was quite disappointed as “it was not as heavy as it looked on screen.” Gurgaon-based Vibha Gupta says that she shops online frequently, but would never buy something worth lakhs by just seeing it on a computer screen. “There is a difference between spending in thousands, and spending in lakhs. Spending lakhs on something that you just saw online is not a wise decision,” she says.
Gursimran Singh Chadha from Jagat Jewels sums it up when he says, “Online shopping may be very popular now, but for jewellery, people are still very cautious and conservative. They will not yet put their money on gold or diamond online.”