Gold seems to be shining again after a year of somewhat subdued reception. On Dhanteras, people queued up across the country to buy the precious yellow metal as the jewellers saw volume-wise demand soar 25 per cent with huge footfalls in their stores on Friday.
"This year sales were very good. Across India, we witnessed good demand. Volume-wise demand was 25 per cent higher and value-wise it was 35 per cent up," Balram Garg, Managing Director, P.C. Jeweller, told IANS.
P.C. Jewellers has 12 stores in Delhi and 68 stores across India. Price of 24 carat gold in the national capital was hovering around Rs 30,000 per 10 grams on Friday.
'Dhan' in Hindi means wealth, and 'Terah' means number 13th. Dhanteras is, accordingly, derived to mean the day that falls on the 13th day of the Krishna Paksha (waning moon period) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin.
People seek to usher in wealth into their homes and buy gold, silver and utensils as a sign of good luck on this day. In some parts of the country, people also worship Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
"The change in demand was palpable. People were very upbeat. There was a lot of enthusiasm. The footfall in the stores went up by 30-50 per cent," Somasundaram PR, Managing Director, India, World Gold Council, told IANS.
"It appears that, as was widely expected, this Dhanteras has ushered in a new phase of optimism around gold, particularly after an unusually difficult first half. Consumers who have been deferring purchases are back and the demand for gold jewellery and branded coins seems to be much better than the previous year's Dhanteras and Diwali festival," he said.
Somasundaram said gold price is up 25-27 per cent this year compared to the same period last year.
"Good monsoon and a softening of gold prices (compared to first half of the year) have definitely improved the sentiment around this traditional asset class and the wedding season ahead appears promising for the trade and consumers alike," he added.
"Compared to last three months, the current gold price has been less by Rs 150-200 per gram, which plays a catalyst role in the ongoing buying momentum," Sankar Sen, Managing Director, Senco Gold, told IANS in Kolkata.
"Jewellery sales were running on a low trajectory for several months in the current year. But jewellers, of late, have experienced strong Dhanteras pre-bookings. Dhanteras is expected to bring much needed rejuvenation in the market. Industry expects to achieve a growth of more than 20 per cent compared to previous year's sales in Dhanteras," Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's former Vice Chairman Pankaj Parekh said.
Apart from the yellow metal, people also buy silver and other metals on this auspicious day.
Gold sales, especially smaller items of personal jewellery, have zoomed in Mumbai.
"This is despite the fact that the gold prices are around Rs 30,450 per 10 grams compared to Rs 25,450 per cent 10 grams on Dhanteras last year," said an elated Surinder Kumar Jain, Vice-President, Mumbai Jewellers Association.
He said shops have been witnessing crowds since the morning 'muhurat' between 9-11 a.m. and bigger sales were expected in the evening 'muhurat' of 7 p.m. to midnight.
"As per current trends, we anticipate around 30 per cent increase in volumes sales compared to 2015, which is very encouraging considering the higher price of gold in 2016," said Jain.
But the mood down south was not so upbeat.
"Sales trend is slow this year. It seems there is no money with the people. Sales may touch last year levels but there may not be any growth across the state," Jayantilal Challani, President of Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association and a partner in Challani Jewellery Mart, told IANS.
Demand for gold ornaments and jewellery on the occasion of Dhanteras was subdued this year for various reasons on the retail front in Bengaluru.
"Compared to last year, demand and sales are lesser this time as the festival has come at the month-end. With four-day holidays from Saturday to Tuesday (November 1), many potential buyers are going on holiday or travelling out of the city," Bangalore Jewellers' Association Secretary Y.S. Ravikumar said.
According to jewellers, younger generation and working women prefer new varieties. They also buy diamonds and artificial jewellery. The middle class buyers continue to prefer traditional ornaments in 22-carat or 24-carat.