According to the World Gold Council, if we analyse the gold jewellery market by weight, the importance of weddings and bridal wear is clear. India is a young country with more than half the population below the age of 25 (and 65% under 35).
Although there are no official figures for the number of weddings in India, an estimate is between 11mn and 13mn per year. As the average age of marriage for women in India is 22, the number of weddings per annum looks set to remain strong. Considering these numbers, demand for bridal jewellery should remain robust over the long term.
Another important factor as to why bridal jewellery makes up a key component of gold demand is the concept of streedhan – property that a woman receives at the time of marriage, given to her as security, which remains hers to keep. An additional, albeit much smaller, element of wedding-related demand comes from jewellery gifted to the immediate family of the bride and groom, as well as jewellery that wedding guests buy to wear themselves.
The field research undertaken by Metals Focus reveals some interesting trends. Bridal jewellery remains the dominant segment (approx. 50-55% market share by weight), despite rising domestic gold prices over the last decade and stiff competition from other luxury purchases, such as destination weddings and foreign holidays. The rupee gold price has almost doubled since 2012, encouraging manufacturers gradually to shift towards lighter weight pieces, but bridal jewellery has been relatively price inelastic, losing only around 5-10% market share in that time. Furthermore, bridal jewellery has faced increasing and stiff competition from other luxury purchases, such as destination weddings and foreign holidays. Wedding jewellery tastes vary considerably across different regions.