When people have started buying everything from electronics to groceries online, can gold and gold jewellery be far behind?
According to statistics published by eBay India, a popular online shopping portal, a jewellery set is sold every 31 minutes.
There are over 37,000 live listings of jewellery items — ranging from big brands to micro-entrepreneurs — at any given point of time, statistics revealed.
Testing the waters
But, loose diamonds, which are sold more briskly at an average interval of 10 minutes, gold coins and simple gold jewellery move faster online than intricate gold jewellery, which customers prefer to try out in stores.
“It is tricky to sell necklaces. It wouldn't work,” said Kalaivani Sadagopan, senior vice-president of Caratlane, an online jewellery portal. She claimed the website attracts an average of 1,000 orders a month, but mostly for diamond solitaires and gold coins with each order averaging around Rs. 15,000. Occasionally, an order can even be for an item as high as Rs. 3 lakh.
According to Calvin John, who manages Tanishq's e-commerce business, “online sales of jewellery remains less than 1 per cent of the total sales”. Growth lies in enticing shoppers who work in cities away from their families to look to the Internet for gifting jewellery (he quotes a figure saying more than 90 per cent of their shoppers are male.)
On the upswing
“The key lies in giving perspective of the online product to the shopper. Instead of describing the product in technical specifications, online sellers should try to market it on live models,” he said. There are encouraging signs, with the portal now selling double the number of items when compared to the first few months of its launch last year, Mr. John said.
“I see a positive trend in online jewellery sales, and retailers will go online eventually to supplement their sales,” said Ms. Sadagopan.
She felt advantages of selling jewellery online are twofold. “Online portals have a display range that far exceeds showrooms; and with no overhead costs on either storage or rentals for the shops, they can be sold at a cheaper rate. You only place an order on the portal and the manufacturer sends it directly,” she said.