Jeweler's said the raging Covid-19 pandemic, hefty hike in gold and silver prices along with lack of enthusiasm among the buyers were the main reason for the fall in sales.

Dussehra turned out to be a lacklustre one for jewellers on Sunday as sales of gold, silver and diamond jewellery fell by a staggering 35% in Maharashtra compared to last year.

The raging Covid-19 pandemic, hefty hike in gold and silver rates along with lack of enthusiasm among the buyers were the main reason for the fall in sales, jewellers said.
According to Mumbai Jewellers Association (MJA), the apex body of the jewellers, the sales on Dussehra clocked Rs 325 crore. “We normally generate a sale of Rs 500 crore during Dussehra. However this year, we saw a massive decrease in sales,” said Kumar Jain, Vice President, MJA.

He said one of the major reasons was the exorbitant increase in gold and silver prices compared to last year, besides the general slowdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Gold now costs Rs 52,960 per 10 grams compared to Rs 38,079 during the 2019 Dussehra. Similarly, silver is now priced at Rs 62,500 per kilogram compared to Rs 39,788 per kg on 2019 Dussehra day.

“This made gold and silver unaffordable which has resulted in decrease of sales this year,” said Jain.

Dussehra is one of the festivals where buying of gold is considered as an auspicious sign. This year most consumers concentrated on buying 1 and 2 grams of gold and silver coins instead of jewellery.

According to Ishu Datwani, Founder, ANMOL Jewellers, one of the leading gold retail outlets in Mumbai, Covid-19 has played a spoilsport. “Our sales have fallen by about 50-60% compared to the previous year,” rued Datwani.

Nilesh Chandaliya, owner, Pramanik Jewellers at Parel blamed the lack of transport for the slowdown of sales. “We used to get consumers from distant suburbs but this time they were unable to come due to lack of trains,” said Chandaliya. “In addition, many people have lost their jobs or have got pay cuts. This has impacted their buying capacity,” he added.

Consumers also rue the situation. Promila Hunter, a hair stylist who lives in Goregaon says this was the first time she did not purchase any gold on Dussehra. “I have been without work for the last seven months and hence without any income. It was impossible for me to buy any gold this time,” said Hunter.

Gold plays an important role for Indians, especially during weddings and other festivals. Four festive days are considered especially auspicious to purchase gold in India — Gudi Padwa, Akshay Tritiya, Dussehra and Dhanteras. India is one of the largest markets for gold trade and the world’s second largest importer of the yellow metal.