The purchasing journey in India is a consultative process, especially for important pieces of jewellery, with shopping trips taking place in family groups and decisions made on the basis of their recommendations (see Fig. 25). When women were asked about the activities they performed before purchase, the most common response was ‘seek advice from friends and relatives’, with half of the survey participants selecting this response. By comparison, only 10 per cent of women in China seek advice in this way.
Existing family connections with a local jeweller are also a powerful influence on purchasing decisions in India, with 46 per cent of women rating sales person’s advice as a very important influence and 49 per cent saying they seek advice from their preferred jeweller. This means that the in-store experience and interaction with the retailer is highly valued by consumers and that retailers have an important role to play in shaping customers' purchase decisions.
Brands are playing an increasingly prominent role in the diamond purchasing journey. De Beers commissioned research among retailers has shown that 21 per cent of diamond jewellers stock brands, compared with only nine per cent of all jewellery retailers. In India, these are overwhelmingly local retail and jewellery brands, with international brands not yet having made a significant impact on local purchases.
The jewellery brand is the most important factor in diamond jewellery selection, with 78 per cent of women viewing this as ‘very important’, ahead of other factors including price (73 per cent), quality of diamond (65 percent) and design (64 per cent) (see Fig. 26). The strong growth of national jewellery chains such as Tanishq and Malabar Gold and Diamonds is testament to this increasing loyalty towards prominent retailer brands.
The Forevermark brand was launched by De Beers in India in 2011 and by mid-2015 the number of doors in which it is present has reached almost 160. This growing presence in the Indian diamond jewellery market and the positioning of beauty and rarity with an emotionally appealing story of responsible sourcing has propelled Forevermark to the third most preferred brand by consumers, coming only behind well established and familiar brands Tanishq and Gitanjali.
The rise of diamond jewellery retail brands supports Indian demand for diamonds through increasing levels of marketing investment. In 2014, the total marketing spend by diamond jewellery and retail brands in India was up 50 per cent from 2010 levels, to over INR600 crore (over US$100million)22. Increasingly, some large diamond brands are drawing linkages with cultural touchstones such as Bollywood in order to achieve this. Drawing on endorsements from Bollywood celebrities is a trend that has particular success among the SEC A/B non-Elites, with 66 per cent reporting being influenced by it (compared with 49 per cent of Elites).
22 Mindshare India; calculated in real terms at today’s exchange rate