Platinum Guild International Widens Opportunities In India’s Jewellery Industry
Gold, Silver, and Diamond have been part of the jewellery repertoire & Indian traditions since centuries. Platinum, however, is a relatively new category creating new opportunities for the jewellery industry - while providing newer consumption occasions to consumers.
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Huw Daniel, CEO, Platinum Guild International talks about this huge opportunity for platinum in the Indian markets. They wish to see it create new trends and occasions in the country. PGI is looking at expanding its footprint & penetration reaching out to tier 1,2,3 and 4 cities given its strong partner base.
Globally, till where does Platinum Guild International have its reach and what are the important markets for you?
We operate in 4 markets including our lead market which is China in terms of size. Followed by Japan, the United States of America and India which is our fourth market. We also focused in Europe earlier but shifted all our assets and distributed them across our other existing and new markets 5 years ago. Where the demographics of growth, return on investment and consumer profile have been more favourable. We measure our success with regards to the ounces sold in the fabrication of platinum jewellery. We recorded the units and the Asian continent consumes 80%, to which India’s contribution continues to grow, and it remains PGI’s most important strategic market. We’re more interested in the growth potential where the growth statistics point heavily towards the country growing at double digits touching 30%. We’re looking at a business of 500,000 ounces in the next 2-3 years. Our dollar per ounce investment is greater than any other market in India.
How would you Indianize the platinum trend in the country and make it more consumer friendly in terms of jewellery preference?
India is always going to predominantly be a gold market and there’s no doubt about that because it is the most traditional and heritage bound jewellery culture in the world. Our vision for platinum is to bring in a different kind of a jewellery experience for the consumers here and bring an incremental opportunity in the industry. That is where we have built the business in India and our approach is not to mimic trends followed by other precious metals here. It is about creating new markets and with platinum we created a whole new category around love, changing the way Indians look at that particular segment. Platinum needed to have a role in the wedding occasions in the country and we created an occasion of blessing from the mother and the father to their daughter and the bridegroom. Platinum is bought for emotional reasons and that has always been our reason to exist and it is what we will continue building.
While covering 4 major markets, how has the journey been for PGI in India?
We started our journey in India in 2000 and we always positioned platinum as a differentiated offering amidst others, launching our pilot test program in the market in Chennai. This led to our national program in 2009 and we’ve had a 10-year long journey where the business has grown in double digits. The only year we faced a challenge in 2016 during demonetization but other than that we’ve only grown. Platinum is present over 1000+ stores today and are strong in Bengaluru, Kochi, Mumbai, Nashik, Hyderabad, Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Surat, Indore, Kolkata and many more. This product is a tier 2,3 and 4 opportunity too and we’re finding young consumers through the smartphone, data penetration - educating consumers and informing their choices.
With a huge growth potential for platinum in India, where would PGI stand in the jewellery industry in the near future?
Our mandate comes from the mining companies in South Africa and it is very clear that PGI needs to continue our mission of bringing in productive opportunity. We aim to continue to find ways for platinum to enter different markets and we do that by working very closely with Indian manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. In India, there is a market-making role and through our efforts, we are sensitizing the consumers towards the value of platinum and making it meaningful to them.