Kalyan Jewellers will be going up against Titan but remains sceptical of jewellery sector going fully online

Kalyan Jewellers will be going up against Titan but remains sceptical of jewellery sector going fully online
Kalyan JewellersBCCL
  • Kalyan Jewellers’ is launching its ₹1,175 initial public offering (IPO) on March 16.
  • It will be going head-to-head against the industry leader, Titan Company, once listed in the markets.
  • However, unlike Titan, Kalyan doesn’t believe that online shopping can ever replace the in-store experience when it comes to making high-ticket purchases, like jewellery.
At a time when most businesses are looking to go digital, Kalyan Jewellers’ executive director — Ramesh Kalyanaraman — doesn’t think that it’s the best bet for the jewellery industry.

“I don’t see online replacing offline ever in our sector,” he told Business Insider in an interview.

Backed by Warburg Pincus, Kalyan Jewellers is set to launch its ₹ 1,175 crore initial public offering (IPO) on March 16 in the world’s biggest market for gold. It will be joining the likes of PC Jewellers, Rajesh Exports and, of course, the industry leader — in terms of market share — Titan Company, which owns the jewellery brand Tanishq. This will be the largest initial share sale by an Indian jewellery company.

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IPO Opening DateMar 16, 2021
IPO Closing DateMar 18, 2021
IPO price₹86 to ₹87 per equity share
Market lot172 Shares
Minimum order value₹14,964
Maximum order value₹1,94,532

Unlike Kalyan, Titan is one among the brick-and-mortar stores which took up digital solutions to boost demand during the COVID-19 pandemic as customers looked for contactless ways to buy jewellery.

CompanyNumber of showrooms
Kalyan Jewellers107
Titan Company’s Tanishq350

The conundrum of buying expensive things online

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The jewellery arm of the Titan Company, Tanishq, set up video calls, virtual appointments and introduced the ‘endless aisle’ concept, which showcases Tanishq’s entire inventory across the country.

Kalyan too saw video calls happening, but people still wanted to be physically present at the store for the final decision-making process, according to Kalyanaraman. “People do not want to make high-ticket purchases online,” he explained.

The son of Kalyan Jewellers founder, TS Kalyanaraman, disclosed that showrooms saw two types of customers during the pandemic. One, where the whole family came to the mall but only one or two members came into the store. The others waited in the car while interacting over a video call.

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The other type of customers were youngsters coordinating buying decisions with their parents or grandparents at home. “Jewellery purchases for marriage is more of an ‘experience’ than just buying. People sent more than half a day at the store shopping. They come with the full family.’ said Kalyanaraman junior.

The trend of jewellery gifting
CaratLane — the online jewellery subsidiary of Titan Company —- saw a 90% surge in sales year-on-year in September 2020.

Kalyan’s online arm Candere, however, did not see much of a boost other than organic growth. “A lot of research happens online, but shopping happens offline,” justified Kalyanaraman.

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This isn’t to say that Kalyan is not investing in information technology (IT). The brand’s flagship ‘My Kalyan’ program is one such example of the jewellery giants using digital means to reach customers.

However, there aren’t any direct customer-facing digital solutions in place. That too at a time when the industry is still reeling from the wave of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Weddings were being cancelled, public gatherings were banned, and showrooms were forced to shut down. The latter can’t be a pleasant experience for the company that was among the first to start the trend of keeping jewellery on display in India.

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As a result, Kalyan Jewelers had negative cash flows for nine straight months between April to December 2020.

It has been eight years since a ‘pure-play’ jewellery company launched an initial public offering (IPO). The last firm to enter the market was PC Jewellers, which opened its ₹600 crore IPO in December 2012.

If Kalyan Jewellers is not going digital, then being hyperlocal will be its only bet to beat the competition.

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