Platinum is Indian men’s best friend

Tags: News
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, and gold her mother’s. But gentlemen prefer blondes. As in platinum, the silvery-white precious metal whose sheen seems to have them in a spin.

Or so says a survey which finds that Indian men are pitching for platinum in such a big way that the metal’s male jewellery segment --- comprising chains, rings and bracelets --- has grown by as much as 53 per cent in the year 2013.

The Indian Retail Trade Barometer, the first of its kind survey done by trade body, Platinum Guild International (PGI), focused on men in the age groups of 25-31 years and 33-45 years in cities like Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi. The sample also covered a crosssection of retailers from chain stores and independents who account for 50 per cent of platinum jewellery sales.

“Men’s jewellery may be a nascent category but it delivered very strong figures. Some retailers even reported doubling their sales while many have shown interest in stocking heavier items,” said Vaishali Banerjee, country manager for PGI.

The look of platinum and its weighty feel appeals to men as it is understated yet sophisticated, and those who own it are considered ahead of the curve, she added.

Cashing in on this curve, Chennai’s GRT Jewellers has placed orders for a wider selection of men’s platinum pieces this year. “Last year witnessed high growth and we plan to cater to this growing demand with exclusive designs that will appeal to men,” said the jewellery chain’s managing director, G R Ananthapadmanabhan.

Agreed Vijay Jain, CEO of ORRA, who pointed out that for 2014, independent of the outcome of the new government and statutory regulations, “there are certain concepts which effectively allow us to build a strong proposition with platinum engagement bands, anniversary gifting and jewellery for men.”

The Barometer, which was reviewed and reported by StratWon Business Consulting, also found that at an overall figure of 41 per cent in the year gone by, platinum is the fastest growing category in Indian jewellery as well. That could be because, as Banerjee pointed out, “we have been successful in utilising digital media and integrating marketing programmes that have positioned platinum well amo­ngst the younger audience.”

Besides men’s jewellery, the other volume driver for platinum jewellery have been the well-marketed Day of Love (PDOL) couple bands, which grew 35 per cent in sales last year. In fact, rings and couple bands for men and women account for 60 to 65 per cent of platinum jewellery stocks.

In 2014, PGI is looking at over 35 per cent growth. “The Barometer’s results indicate very strong consumer desire for platinum jewellery,” said Nicholas Graham Smith, COO of PGI. “Though the Indian market is still relatively small in the global context, it has been growing at an exponential rate. The outlook for 2014 and beyond is extremely positive,” he said.

Historically, platinum prices have been rather steady compared to gold prices. However, after 2008 platinum prices too have seen high levels of fluctuations. In November 2008, it had fallen to a low of $778 per ounce and had moved up to $1850 in 2011. Since then it has been consolidating between $1700 and $1250.

“Currently, it is trading around $1448 -$1450 levels. It has an immediate resistance at $1530 and $1700 is a crucial level. As the prices have been consolidating at these levels for a long time, chances are higher for an upside movement. The strike in some of the mines in South Africa has affected the supply and the market is looking at triggers to move up,” said Vamsi Krishna, manager, research, JRG Wealth Management.

According to DGCI&S data, the country imported 16 tonnes of platinum last year, which only goes to show that the white metal is gaining ground. Sure, it can never overtake the mass appeal of the yellow metal, but it can still carve an exclusive niche with a select clientele.

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