After a sluggish start in mid-June when lockdown restrictions were lifted, online precious jewellery firms such as Caratlane, Bluestone and Melorra are witnessing sharp spikes in demand, up to 5X, in the run up to Diwali.
Demand is being driven by the huge shift to online shopping, the onrush of first time buyers/small town buyers and the vast selection of affordable, lightweight everyday-wear jewellery in 14, 18 and 22 carat gold.
CaratLane, a subsidiary of the Titan Company, saw online sales grow by 90 per cent YoY in Q2 ended September 2020 and same store growth in high street stores was 14 per cent YoY.
Retail stores recover
“Our retail stores recovered fully to pre-Covid levels in September, however, online sales were growing at 100 per cent from mid-June onwards and is better than pre-Covid levels now at 115 per cent. In September alone, our orders grew by 23 per cent YoY. In Q2, sales grew 25 per cent YoY and we expect to exceed this growth rate in October/November,” said Avnish Anand, co-founder and business head, Caratlane.
The omnichannel jewellery firm records 1.5 lakh daily average browsing sessions on its website. Caratlane exited FY 2020 with revenue of ₹622 crore and has a network of 104 stores.
Interestingly, this fiscal, Caratlane which offers over 6,000 designs, has witnessed a 70-80 per cent growth in sales from small towns such as Sholapur, Amritsar, Bokaro and Goa. While the company’s main selling price ranges between ₹10,000 and ₹40,000, a significant number of first time buyers shopped for sub-₹10,000 jewellery especially kids jewellery, which is selling very fast, said Anand.
Ratan Tata-backed BlueStone.com, which has a network of 30 franchise stores in 8 cities, is at 70 per cent recovery in stores but has seen a 2.5X boom in online sales because of Covid-related restrictions.
“The pandemic has been good for us, because although store sales were hit, the spike in online sales more than compensated for it. People are buying for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries and everyday wear. From ₹300 crore revenue run rate pre-Covid, we will exit this fiscal at a ₹500 crore run rate,” said Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, founder and CEO, BlueStone.com.
Melorra, which recently raised $12.5 million, has seen its revenue grow 5X from July to November.
“We have seen amazing growth in the last three months and are back to our pre-Covid peak of February 2020. We are growing by 10-15 per cent over last Diwali and expect to exit FY21 with over ₹100 crore revenue. The combination of online shopping, our wide selection of lightweight jewellery and our first TV campaign launched in October with actress Shraddha Kapoor have all contributed to the demand spike,” said Saroja Yeramilli, founder and CEO, Melorra.
Betting on ads
“We took a big bet on vernacular and put out print ads in regional languages which paid off big time as 50-55 per cent of our orders are coming from really small towns like Dibrugarh, Unnao, Domariyaganj, Mapusa, Adilabad, Sivakasi, Raichur, Satara, Tumkur, Kuppam, Moga etc. Average selling price has shot up to ₹34,000 from ₹25,000 in January,” added Saroja.