Companies unpack goodies for akshaya tritiya

Tags: Knowledge

Big discounts on cars, jewellery, real estate and even money transfer aim to cash in on buying sentiment on auspicious day

It’s that time of the year again when companies eye brisk sales on akshaya tritiya (also known as akha teej) and come up with special offers to attract consumers. This year, it could be bigger and better as companies are offering “higher” discounts on cars, exotic jewellery, real estate and even money transfer.

Aiming to cash in on the popular sentiment around this day, which falls on April 21, a shopping festival atmosphere is being created by companies. But experts say buyers should be discerning and cautious.

This year, Ford India has announced special benefits on Figo in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The akshaya tritiya offer will give customers benefits of up to Rs 66,000 on Figo. An additional 20 per cent discount on select accessories is also up for grabs.

Though the real estate market is admittedly slack, property firms have joined the bandwagon too. “The positive sentiment associated with festivals like akshay tritiya often motivate fence-sitting buyers to take the plunge where they would otherwise have procrastinated further,” says Kruti Jain, director, Kumar Urban Development.

Real estate developer Olympeo Infrastructure has announced two offers to opt for while booking a flat at Olympeo Riverside, an integrated township coming up on 25 acres in Neral-Karjat belt, an extended Mumbai suburb. These are: complimentary air-conditioned facilities with the flat and a special rental scheme wherein the buyer will get guaranteed rental on the flat for two years from the date of possession.

While days like akshaya tritiya are a boon for real estate developers, property consultants feel that one should not rush to close deals on this day and due diligence needs to be done as chances of mis-selling could be higher.

The festive season is considered as the most important time for the realty sector as it records the highest number of sales, which is nearly 20-25 per cent more than non-festive period. “Not only do new homeowners want to take such a significant step in their life on a day of such holy occasion, but akshaya tritiya also presents the best opportunity to move in to a new home. This is the start of summer, when the schools close for the summer vacations, and there is practically a month in hand during which one can comfortably shift from the old residence to the new one,” avers Arvind Jain, managing director, Pride Group.

Financial firms are also using the festival day as a sales plank. UAE Exchange India has come up with a chance to win a gold coin during the auspicious month of akshaya tritiya. Customers carrying out transactions in any of UAE Exchange India branches and through online means are eligible for lucky draw from April 1 to April 20.

Jewellers are looking forward to akshaya tritiya with a “cautious optimism”. While the restrictions on gold imports have gone, unseasonal rain in March is a dampener for sales. However, the trade hopes that sales will be better than last year’s akshaya tritiya, when the demand fell 30 per cent. Gold imports in March stood at 125 tonnes against 60 to 65 tonnes in the same month last year. The general gloom in gold sales along with the restrictions on carrying cash and valuables during the election time had affected the consumer sentiments last year when the sales were down 30 per cent. “We are maintaining a cautious optimism. Sales during the first half of 2013 were high due to falling gold prices and even akshaya tritiya sales were good. Last year akshaya tritiya sales were down when compared to the previous year. This time, the sales are going to be better, though not substantially high,” said Sandeep Kulhalli, vice-president, retail and marketing, jewellery division, Titan.

The GJF hopes that sales could be 10 to 15 per cent higher this time from a low base. Unseasonal rains have damaged standing crop in many parts of the country that could impact demand. However, the trade expects the urban purchases to offset the decline in rural demand.

The government directive mandating PAN card details for purchases above Rs 1 lakh will be effective from June 1 and hence akshaya tritiya sales might not be affected by it. The average ticket sizes are expected to remain within the Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh range.

Experts say when it comes to gold, anecdotal evidence suggests that gold price trends do not seem to be particularly affected by akshaya tritiya. Only in two out of the past 10 years have gold prices gone up by two per cent or more in the week running up to this day.

Domestic gold prices usually track global market cues. Anticipating heavy demand for gold exchange traded funds (ETFs), bourses have extended trading hours till 7 PM. The BSE has decided to waive the transaction charges for all trades done in gold ETF securities on Tuesday April 21, 2015, a BSE spokesperson said.

Gold ETFs track the physical market gold prices and each unit of these ETFs is generally equivalent to one gram of gold. In gold ETFs, returns are linked to the domestic price of physical gold but spare the investors from the hassle of buying and keeping the yellow metal — an effective safe-haven — in physical form.The extended trading would be allowed in gold ETFs of Axis, Goldman Sachs, HDFC, ICICI Pru, Kotak, Quantum, Reliance, Religare, SBI, UTI and Birla Sun Life mutual funds.

According to Peerless Fund Management, exposure to gold is a must for every investor portfolio. On a risk adjusted basis, a portfolio of equity/bond and gold (with a right mix of 20 per cent, 60 per cent and 20 per cent respectively) gives superior risk adjusted returns than pure equity, pure bond or even an only equity — bond mix portfolio.

Many banks and financial institutions are offering precious metal coins at 5-10 per cent lower prices than the market rates.

There is, however, a cloud regarding PAN requirement for jewellery purchases above Rs 1 lakh. Finance minsiter Arun Jaitley had announced in his budget speech that PAN number will be mandatory for all sales and purchases of over Rs 1 lakh. Tax authorities will also scrutinise “splitting transactions” to avoid quoting the PAN number.

Fearing loss of business, jewellery trade unions had urged the government to exempt the sector from the new law. Currently, under the Income-Tax Act, cash purchase of jewellery worth over Rs 5 lakh requires a PAN card.The Consumers Association of India (CAI) has cautioned buyers on gold quality. According to CAI office bearers, the gold trade in India, especially ahead of akshaya tritiya, is an occasion when large amounts of poor quality gold are sold. Gold is ruling at about Rs 26,700 levels for 10 grams while silver is about Rs 37,000 per kg. The price of platinum is hovering around Rs 28000-29,000 per 10 gram. “As per the present gold rate, we do expect a huge footfall all over our outlets, besides our further concessions on the making charges,” said Suvankar Sen, executive director, Senco Gold and Diamonds.

Besides traditional jewellery stores, online portals are wooing customers with offers. Discounts and lower charges are being offered for gold, platinum and diamond jewellery.

For example, ORRA is giving 25 per cent off on diamond and platinum jewellery and Rs 2,000 off per 10 grams on gold rate of 22 carat BIS hallmarked gold jewellery. CaratLane.com is offering 25 per cent off on diamond and gemstone jewellery on orders above Rs 30,000, 10 per cent and five per cent off on orders above Rs 15,000 and above Rs 5,000 respectively.

According to BlueStone.com, it is not only plain gold/gold coins which are soaring in sales for them but also studded jewellery like diamonds and gem stones that are contributing to 70 per cent of pre-akshaya tritiya sales. “Contrary to the popular belief, while last year akshaya tritya was a South-focused bonanza for jewellery retailers, this year North India seems as bullish on the akshay tritya momentum as South India,” says a note by Bluestone.com.

Homeshop18 is promoting Jpearls for akshay tritiya with offers. North India based Vikas Chain & Jewellery is offering silver coin on every Rs 10,000 purchase of jewellery piece to all customers. Mine Of Design is giving one-gram gold coin on very purchase of Rs 50,000.

Anmol Jewellers in its stores in Mumbai and Delhi during the anniversary sale celebrations, which begins on April 1 till May 3, is giving buyers a chance to win up to 100 per cent discount on making charges of gold and diamond jewellery and gifts with every purchase.The Zaveri family-run Minawala will be offering 50-100 per cent off on making charges on diamond jewelry for Akshay Tritiya in Mumbai.

With so much to grab, your akshaya tritiya shopping could be quite a fun.

(with inputs from Sangeetha G)

kumarshankar

@mydigitalfc.com

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