At a time when global luxury markets are struggling to attract customers to keep their exports afloat, silverjewellery exports from India grew exponentially over the past five years. India’s silver jewellery exports quadrupled since financial year 2010-11 because of rapid shift in consumer preferences in favour of contemporary designs of gemstone-studded ornaments.
Data compiled by Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) show India’s silver jewellery shipment at $2,959 million in financial year (FY) 2015-16, compared with $566 million in 2010-11. From FY15, exports grew by 44 per cent.
The growth in silver jewellery exports has opened an opportunity for Indian designers to compete with traditional market leaders like Thailand, China and Turkey. Subdued prices, growing consumer confidence and guaranteed buyback have helped Indian silver ornaments emerge as an alternative to gold jewellery in international market.
“There is a silver lining for India’s silver jewellery exports. Till sometime back, India was a primary exporter of silver bars. Today, the world can see our presence in silver jewellery. Our growth indicates that we can easily become the largest silver jewellery exporter in the world,” said Praveen Shankar Pandya, chairman, GJEPC.Silver prices in the international markets have declined by 50 per cent over the past five years to trade at $15.44 an oz. Silver prices have marginally recovered in the recent past. In domestic markets, however, the impact of price fall was limited because of the depreciation in the rupee. In domestic currency, silver slipped to Rs 36,990 a kg, a decline of 34 per cent from the level of Rs 56,290 a kg in FY12. “The slowdown in European manufacturing activity has benefited India over the past years. Understanding the need of overseas consumers, India has invested immensely in technology advancement for modern and contemporary designs of intrinsic jewellery. India is reaping advantage of its expertise in jewellery sector,” said Rahul Mehta, managing director, Silver Emporium, one of India’s largest silver jewellery exporters. Silver Emporium is planning to set up a large warehouse in the United States to serve its customers in American countries efficiently. Indian silver jewellery exporters require government support to grow. For example, a few years ago, India had a policy for duty drawback on silver. However, exporters are yet to receive their dues from the government.
“Such unfavourable policies prevent us from exports despite huge appetite for Indian jewellery in global markets,” said Mehta.
Rising jewellery exports reflected in silver import as well. India’s silver import jumped four-fold in the past three years from 1,900 tonnes in FY12 to 7,954 tonnes in FY15.