Even as there was a complete shutdown of business in June quarter due to COVID-19 related disruptions, diamond jewellery witnessed sharp recovery from October onwards and the industry is expected to do 70-85 per of last year's sales, De Beers India Managing Director Sachin Jain has said. "I would certainly predict that we will be back to between 70-85 per cent, of 2019. We will certainly be lower than last year, but not to a tune that it is unrecoverable," Jain told .
He said it will all depend on how businesses stayed connected with consumers during the difficult times of the lockdown, he added.
Jain said the year 2020 began on a strong note, however, the second quarter (April-June) was a complete washout due to nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
However, from October onwards, the relaxations coupled with the festivals began resulting in a surge of demand.
"We saw very high surge in number of consumers with pent-up demand where consumers came and bought. Also, what's happened is that there's been a significant change in the way families have been spending in weddings.
"Due to government restrictions on travel and number of people allowed in gatherings, a lot of the overall budget for wedding is being utilised towards jewellery," he added.
With the upward trajectory of demand, Jain said the Forevermark brand of De Beers Group continues to have bullish expansion plans in India.
"We had 260 operative stores before the pandemic and are planning to take it to 270 by December 31, 2020. We have also expanded both from our network point of view and city point of view. We've extended our brand presence to about six new cities, and are now in 66 cities in India," he said.
Going forward, 2021 is definitely going to be better than this year, however, there is likely to be a few dips in between, he added.
Jain also stated that De Beers has set its 12 ambitious sustainability goals for the coming decade, dubbed as 'Building Forever Goals' that will focus on four pillars - leading ethical practices across industry, partnering for thriving communities, protecting the natural world and accelerating equal opportunity.
"By 2030, we want to be a carbon neutral company. We also have committed ourselves to bringing in equality within the organisation and the communities we work with. And lastly emphasise on ethical practices in the business," he added.