UAE - Today is a ‘golden day’ for UAE expats celebrating the Hindu festival Akshaya Tritiya — an occasion that has traditionally seen most of them flock to jewellery stores to buy their gold. This year, however, many are extra cautious.
Gold jewellers in Dubai said customers now check their options online first, before proceeding to brick-and-mortar stores to collect the item. Buyers would also book appointments prior to visiting the outlet to ensure social distancing amidst the pandemic. Some would call up the store to ask about the best time to visit, and by ‘best’ they meant the time of day when the least number of visitors was expected.
“Both retailers and customers discuss appointments on the phone prior to coming to the outlets. In some cases, we are sending photos of products to customers for pre-selection and then they come to the shop for the final selection to make the process faster. Some of the clients are also doing the primary selection of the jewellery online and then they visit the outlet for final purchasing,” said Abdul Salam KP, group executive director of Malabar Gold and Diamonds.
Chandu Siroya, owner of Siroya Jewellers, said the trend of people browsing gold jewellery products online and then buying then offline is slowly gaining ground.
“People are mainly buying smaller ticket items valued at Dh1,000 to Dh2,000 online, but young people also buy diamond jewellery worth up to Dh5,000 online. However, the slightly older generation still likes to have a touch and feel before they opt to buy the jewellery,” said Siroya.
In general, customers looking to buy jewellery of higher value tend to visit stores, but they would first ensure there would be no crowds on site, he added.
Local customers drive sales
Jewellers in the country are banking on the local demand for a boost in sales. Since Hindus and Jains believe Akshaya Tritiya is an auspicious day to buy gold and jewellery, they believe many will definitely purchase something from their shops.
“We are definitely missing our tourist customers. But the local population is definitely going to buy because there are special promotions being offered by almost every jeweller. Hence, we will be relying on local consumers,” Chandu Siroya said.
Siroya is also hoping that an expected rise in gold prices would drive demand for the precious metal during the festival.
Abdul Salam of Malabar Gold also expects a good turnout of customers despite Covid restrictions.
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