With hardly a week left for the Akshaya Tritiya on May 6, large gold marts are competing with each other through aggressive marketing tactics to woo customers in the town. However, smaller shops in Puducherry term the run up to the day as the “toughest” period in the year saying that people rarely buy gold in the weeks prior to the auspicious ‘tidhi'.

While the high price of gold, which reached Rs 2062 per gram on Thursday, has already had an impact on their business, a number of small shop owners in the Nellu Mandi, the jewellery junction in Puducherry, say that attractive offers put up by large jewellery shops ensure that people postpone their purchasing plans from April to Akshaya Tritiya.

S. Giridhar, whose shop is one among the 200 in the Kossakadai Street-Nellu Mandi junction, says that the effect of Akshaya tritiya on their business is accentuated by the fact that it corresponds with the peak of the first wedding season in the year.

“March is when people start fixing marriages and the season lasts till June. In the last several years, aggressive advertisement for Akshaya Tritiya has ensured that people make even their wedding purchases on this day,” he says.

Varadhan, who owns a shop right next to Mr. Giridhar, seconds his opinion. “Our customers are those who have been buying from us for years together now. But unfortunately, as Akshaya Tritiya corresponds with wedding season, they rush to these big shops which offer discounts to cut down on their marriage expenses.”

Trying to match the big shops is virtually impossible for these small-time jewellers as the margin of profit and volume they deal with is very small. “We cannot afford to advertise as we make very little profits. In fact, we don't even stock new varieties during this month as we know the demand would be low,” says Narayanan, a goldsmith near Bharathi Street. These jewellers say that media attention on the day has also had an impact on why people prefer Akshaya Tritiya. “Though the concept itself is a recent phenomenon, the kind of attention it has got in the media has added to our woes,” says Giridhar.