As markets across the industries have taken a hit due to the coronavirus outbreak, reports say there’s a sharp fall in demand for diamond jewellery globally, including India, amid the fear of the virus and the lockdown.
Recently, the Surat diamond industry, which has seen zero exports or domestic sales, sought financial assistance from the government to pay wages.
As traders hope to see better times with festivities, the impact of the pandemic might cripple the industry, leaving the players to wait for the coming year.
However, Richa Singh, Managing Director, India, Diamond Producers Association, sees the whole situation with much optimism, especially for the natural diamond jewellery market.
In an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, she said, “It is difficult to have consumers thinking of jewellery given the situation, but we believe that natural diamond jewellery is well positioned to stay relevant and emerge stronger once things normalise.”
The lockdown has meant that consumers are unable to interact with their loved ones to the extent that they would like to. So when the scenario changes, she said, they are going to crave avenues to express their love and affection through multiple ways, and what better way to celebrate relationships than with a gift of a billion-year-old, one-of-a-kind natural diamond?
As consumers emerge with a sense of gratitude, they will also become more conscious about every choice they make after the pandemic.
“Slow fashion is going to be the new normal, and natural diamonds fit in perfectly with this concept,” she said.
She added, “As people stay home, their appreciation for the environment and all things natural is growing. And there is no better way to celebrate this shift in mindset than with natural diamonds, which give back so much to nature. 83% of the water used in mining is recycled. At the same time, the leading diamond mining companies conserve and protect three times the land used in mining while efforts are taken to preserve the local ecosystem and wildlife. So the environmental impact of natural diamonds is very low and when you invest in them, you can be rest assured that you are buying something that is giving back to the world.”
To minimise the impact due to the unfortunate situation, the association has introduced campaigns in various markets worldwide to focus on skill building, keeping the trade engaged and encouraging consumers to support local jewellers.
Minimising the damage and disruption, it is also directing small and large business owners to relevant resources, and giving focus on e-learning resources and trade-specific opportunities.
Singh said that it is the ideal time for the trade partners and their employees to invest in upskilling and the association has its online training platforms to support the same.
Apart from this, it is trying to stay connected with its consumers through digital channels for a top-of-mind recall.
She believes that the consumers’ needs, wants and ways of making a purchase decision are going to change drastically, and DPA is keeping a constant track of trends while focussing on the consumer to increase demand in the sector.
The association is closely monitoring how consumers make purchase decisions and what their new needs and wants are going to be and predicts that there will be a drastic shift going forward.
While the ways of doing business are going to change as consumer behaviour changes, she suggested trade and business managers to be adaptive to this change to live up to consumer expectations and keep their products and communication relevant in the current scenario.
“Being open to technological advances, using digital channels to connect with consumers and adapting to new consumer demands is essential to stay relevant. Upskilling is vital to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Constant reading, increasing knowledge and e-learning are going to enable the trade to keep abreast of the changes as the world changes quicker than ever. Be flexible and innovative. Trade and business managers need to learn flexibility and become innovative in order to match consumer expectations and we need to keep both our product and communication relevant in the current scenario,” she added.
As digital medium becomes the most powerful tool that brands have at their disposal today, she said, “We must embrace the medium to stay connected with consumers. Digital channels can be leveraged to create brand recall and desirability for natural diamond jewellery. It is the first medium of discovery of both your brand and product and using beautiful imagery effectively will go a long way in creating desirability for natural diamond jewellery.”
DPA India team is trying to make the most of the lockdown.
As the team stays connected via video calls during these times, it is working towards a better consumer understanding to prepare for the times ahead.
“As a team, we have found alternative ways of doing our regular activities like leveraging social and digital media being a critical part of our media matrix. Brainstorming for new ideas is a vital part to avoid a dip in our efficiency levels at work. Our marketing focus has shifted to more digital mediums and we see the same change happening across our industry as webinars have become the norm,” she said.