Half Celebration During Festivals
Outlook Money|October 2020
Half Celebration During Festivals
The big, fat Indian wedding is off. But India beats the dhol with EMIs, digital gold
Yagnesh Kansara

Prashant Jadhav, a young PR professional from Mumbai, was looking forward to buy gold for his wedding in December 2020. He had planned to purchase jewellery for his bride. With the pandemic, everything has taken a back seat.

Jadhav complains, “The spread of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown derailed my entire plan and gold prices also began to rise sharply. I have to delay my wedding for a few months because of it.”

The pandemic has taught us all one big lesson—stay grounded, stay austere and go online. When it’s a choice between life and death, everything can wait, be it festive fanfare or big fat Indian weddings.

Come October, the biggest festivals begin and go on till Christmas in December. This also happens to be an auspicious time for weddings. However, with restrictions of social distancing and shoestring budgets, everything is in a very low key.

Weddings are a big business in India. According to a report by KPMG, the US wedding industry is ranked at number one in terms of size at $70 billion annually. The Indian wedding industry is ranked second with an estimated size of $40-50 billion. And gold is an integral part of it.

However with gold prices on a surge, retail demand for gold has seen a big dent: it has slid 56 per cent in the first half of the year to 165.6 tonnes as compared to the same period last year.

Maansi Rane, 58, who recently retired from an MNC and plans to conduct her daughter’s marriage, says with a sigh, “Weddings are a big deal in India. If it’s a daughter’s wedding, then it’s even more special. After retirement, my first priority was to buy gold for that. After a lot of research and consulting financial advisors, we were planning to buy on Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year. Unfortunately, it fell on March 25! The lockdown was announced a day before and the price of gold started surging. Buying gold has become a difficult task at least for now.”

The biggest setback was seen in the jewellery industry where demand slumped to 117.8 tonnes in the first half of the year, as compared to 294.10 tonnes in the same period last year. Rising prices, contraction in growth (GDP) rates, declining disposable incomes and lockdown restrictions kept buyers away from the physical market.

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October 2020