Freebies to lure buyers this Akshaya Tritaya

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Up until a few years ago, outside of the Jain community, not many had heard of Akshaya Tritaya. But in a society that worships Mammon more than Mrittika (the earth goddess which the day was originally meant to propitiate), it has now come to mean the most auspicious occasion for buying gold across the country. This year, it falls on May 2.

Accordingly, jewellers are going all out to woo would-be buyers. If some are offering a free pick-up-and-drop, others are slashing rates on ‘making charge’ or giving a flat discount on purchases.

Sure, this gets the festive spirit going but the real reason for such promotions is that people aren’t all that sold on gold this year. The trade fraternity anticipates lower sales compared to last year and is therefore resorting to freebies to lure buyers. Last year around this time, gold prices had crashed in both the international and Indian market, and prices had plateaued around Rs 27,000 per 10 gm.

“The demand is definitely less this time,” said Haresh Soni, chairman, All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.

“There were no government restrictions on gold import last year and no issues with regard to availability of raw material either. Now the premium on gold has gone up to $120 to $130 per ounce,” Soni added.

General elections too have played spoilsport for jewellery sales in the past couple of months. “There are restrictions on carrying cash and valuables around poll time and people are not willing to take risks on jewellery purchases. As the last quarter sales were far from desirable, jewellers are trying to make the most of an Akshaya Tritiya opportunity by doling out discounts,” said Soni.

So, there’s Chennai-based NAC Jewellers that will pick you up from your home and drop you back once you have made a purchase. Sweetening the deal further, it is also throwing in a pressure cooker for purchases above Rs 10,000 and television sets for those above a lakh.

In Bangalore, Kirtilals Jewellers is offering Rs 10,000 off per carat on fine quality diamond jewellery and Rs 50 off per gram on gold, confirmed Suraj Shantakumar, director — business strategy.

Mumbai store, Kama Schachter, claims to have gotten “fairly good pre-booking orders” for the season and the company is working round-the-clock to get the jewellery made in time. “We are optimistic about a 20-25 per cent collective increase in diamond jewellery sales from our online and offline stores,” said Colin Shah, the brand’s managing director.

On a pan-India scale, Orra is offering up to 25 per cent off on platinum and diamond jewellery, 50 per cent rebate on making charges of gold/silver bars and coins, Rs 1,000 off on current gold rate of 10 kt jewellery and Rs 2,000 discount on selective pieces.

Online jewellery companies, which are still trying to establish their presence in the market, plan to capitalise on the day with heavier discounts and offers. CaratLane.com gives you a one gram silver coin free with every order while Addimon.com offers 25 per cent discount apart from a Rs 5,000 gold chain free for purchases above Rs 30,000.

“We are trying to reach out to a maximum number of people through these offers, said Sumit Sukhija, CEO, Addimon.com, who pointed out that online jewellery was priced 40 per cent lower than market rates in any case as they have the advantage of carrying minimum inventory. “In diamond jewellery, in fact, we are expecting at least a 30 per cent more sales this time,” he added.

Ironically, in Hinduism, Akshaya Tritaya was originally meant as an auspicious day to start new ventures. In keeping with the belief that it was on this day that lord Ganesha started writing the Mahabharata.

Also, charity done on this occasion is said to bring about the biggest blessings, because this was also the day goddess Annapurna was born. Now, since charity begins at home anyway, buyers and sellers of the precious metal believe that the venture of purchasing gold will help beget blessings in the form of more gold.

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