Gold and jewellery sales were muted so far on the occasion of Dhanteras as people preferred silver coins and utentils for token buying amid sluggish consumer spending and high rates of the precious metal, according to industry players.
Dhanteras, celebrated in northern and western parts of India on Friday, is considered an auspicious day for buying gold, silver and other valuables.
However, organised players like Titan and UT Zaveri are hopeful of good footfalls later during the day as many people are taking delivery of pre-booked orders.
Gold prices are ruling at around Rs 39,000 per 10 gram on this Dhanteras, as against Rs 32,690 per 10 gram on the same day in 2018.
In India, unorganised players make up for roughly 70 per cent of the country's gold sales.
"Being a working day, the footfall is not much. We have got reports of slow sale from across the country. However, we expect the momentum to gather after 4 pm. Despite rain alerts, we expect good business this Dhanteras, especially after evening," All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) chairman Anantha Padmanabhan told PTI.
Stating that high gold rates and demand slump are likely to dent sales this time, Delhi's Karol Bagh Jewellery Association President Vijay Khanna said most buyers are restricting their purchase to tokens, especially for investment purpose.
"We see flat sales this Dhanteras but hope to recover during the wedding season in the coming days," he added.
Kumar Jain of UT Zaveri from Mumbai's Zaveri bazaar said, "Since auspicious muhurat was between 9am to 12.30 pm, we are getting footfalls, mostly from those of pre-booked orders who want to avoid the evening rush."
Being a working day, more footfalls are expected in the evening after office hour, he added.
Titan Jewellery Division Senior Vice President (Retail and Marketing) Sandeep Kulhalli said: "The market has been impacted by a sudden gold rate surge in July, and general downturn in consumer spending. Growth has been muted so far but we have seen an upsurge in our business since the last few days."
Diamond sales are certainly outgrowing gold sales. Tanishq stores across the country are all packed since last few days and hence the company is expecting a robust Dhanteras and Diwali sales, he added.
Khanna Gems Pvt Ltd Managing Director Pankaj Khanna said there is a "positive trend" in terms of silver coin sales this time as buyers are preferring white metal due to high rates of gold.
"We are hopeful of crossing 100 kg silver coin sales through our online platform, up from 23 kg last Dhanteras days," he said, adding that the company is selling hallmarked silver coins.
India is the world's largest consumers and importer of gold.