India is the second largest jewellery market the gold market forms a deeply intrinsic part of India. For the population of 1.4bn, gold, and specifically gold jewellery, plays a central role, acting both as an adornment and a form of investment. It is therefore not surprising that for decades India was the largest consumer of gold before being overtaken by China in 2009.
In 2021, India bought 611t of gold jewellery, second only to China (673t) but comfortably ahead of all other gold-consuming markets. Much of the Indian gold market is very traditional, reflecting important cultural and religious ties. This can be seen in the long-standing preference for 22-carat jewellery and the dominance of bridal jewellery.
But the gold market is evolving, with changing tastes and designs driven by economic growth, globalisation and changing consumer preferences. In recent years, for example, demand has grown for lightweight and studded jewellery. Aside from gold, India has a sizeable and vibrant silver jewellery market and is the world’s largest fabricator of silver jewellery.
Our 2019 consumer survey, carried out by Hall & Partners, found that 60% of the women surveyed owned gold jewellery, closely followed by 57% who owned silver jewellery, but only 26% owned diamond jewellery. Platinum jewellery did not appear among the top purchases by female consumers, as this market is still in its infancy in India.
Other markets often reflect on the long-established nature of India’s gold jewellery markets – both in scale and importance. The reasons behind gold’s history and longevity lie in how these metals are inextricably linked to Indian customs and religion.