Akshaya Tritiya, a highly auspicious day to purchase gold, has started on a sombre note and jewellers are expecting only 10-15 percent sales as the onset of the COVID-19 second wave, local restrictions and partial lockdowns have affected consumer sentiment.
"As most of the states are under lockdown to curb the infections there is almost no business activity. The day of Akshaya Tritiya has begun on a slow note and whatever booking or enquiries are happening it is only through tele or digital medium," All-India Gems & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) chairman Ashish Pethe told PTI.
He said, jewellers are expecting only 10-15 per cent sales this Akshaya Tritiya in places where the lockdown is not imposed or there are partial shutdowns.
The second wave of the pandemic is turning out to be much worse than last year with huge loss of life across the country causing an overall negative consumer sentiment, Pethe said.
India''s COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 2,40,46,809, while the death toll rose to 2,62,317 with 4,000 fresh fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.
During the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 infections, many states have imposed lockdowns or lockdown-like restrictions as a desperate measure to restrict the spread of the virus.
PNG Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director Saurabh Gadgil said the day has begun with enquiries and bookings, however, as delivery is not possible due to lockdowns the sales during this Akshaya Tritiya is likely to be tamed and muted.
Usually, 30-40 tonne gold is sold on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. However, this time sales are not likely to reach even 1 tonne.
"We are urging customers to place orders for later delivery. As last year the base was very low, this year will be better, that is 10-15 per cent more than 2020. However, sales are not likely to reach even 1 tonne. Usually on a normal Akshaya Tritiya 25-30 tonne gold is sold across the country," he noted.
Retail stores are closed in several major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and in gold consuming states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Kalyan Jewellers Executive Director Ramesh Kalyanaraman said Akshaya Tritiya 2021 is going to be different from last year as 20 per cent of our showrooms are functioning but with regionalised timing restrictions.
"However, with the evolving on-ground situation and individual concerns, the overall sentiment in India is not favourable with customers hesitating to step out of their homes. Therefore, the Kalyan Jewellers Gold Ownership Certificate, launched during last year''s lockdown continues to see traction this season," he said.
Further, he stated that there is no global shutdown, and therefore 100 per cent of the company''s Middle East showrooms are operational.
"In the Middle East, business has not reached pre-COVID levels yet. With the newly imposed travel and flight, tourism from South Asia is affected, and that naturally has an impact on the jewellery sector. Considering the very low base of 2020, this year''s Akshaya Tritiya will naturally be better, but the numbers will not be comparable to the pre-COVID situation of 2019 or earlier," he added.