Amidst global headwinds like Ukraine-Russia war, businesses have suffered a huge jolt, especially during Covid-19 pandemic. Jewellery sector has been hit severely by the rising prices of precious metals. Navpreet Singh, director of Indira Jewellers (a franchisee of Tanishq in western Odisha), speaks to Orissa POST about the challenges and prospects of jewellery business in the state. Singh’s family has been into retail business in Rourkela for five decades and their jewellery store at Rourkela was launched about 15 years ago, in Sambalpur about eight years back and in Jharsuguda three years ago.

What are the major challenges faced by the jewellery industry?

Today the biggest challenge to the jewellery industry is rising prices of gold and diamonds. The never-ending war between Russia and Ukraine is adding to the uncertainty in the market.

What are the trends in jewellery industry now?

With the rising gold prices, light weight jewellery is trending what we have noticed. Customers are coming with fixed budgets say for a wedding or an occasion and hence the new collection in light weight jewellery. Tanishq as a brand has added a great variety in affordable price points which is definitely going to be a treat for the customers.

What are the changes you have seen in consumer behaviour?

Customers are moving to the brands they can trust in the long run. Today they want value for money but they are happy to pay a small premium to shop with a brand of trust and someone who is offering purity.

Gold jewellery sales need trust, and touch & feel factors which are very difficult to incorporate in online business. However, in India online jewellery business has witnessed rapid growth. Do you think it would be a threat to offline sales in future?

Not really. Online jewellery purchase is mostly confined to fashion jewellery segment. It will rather be a catalyst to the brick and mortar stores. Every brand/industry wants to be present online but major sales will continue to happen in the stores definitely.

Tell us about your education and work experience.

I am a B.Com (Hons.) graduate from St Xavier’s College, Kolkata and also an alumnus of The Doon School, Dehradun. I started my career in Mumbai working with the audit division of Deloitte at Deloitte Haskins and Sales. Later, I moved back to my hometown Rourkela. We have an MBO dealing in apparel, saree and lifestyle products – Indira Textiles. We have franchise for Manyavar at Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh. We also have franchise for Fabindia at the Steel City. We are business associates of Tanishq in Rourkela, Sambalpur and Jharsuguda.

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