A case for product differentiation
There is something strange about the Indian jewelry market. It is large, yes, but unlike most other markets it does not have a dominant player. There is no Maruti or Jio as far as the jewelry market goes. The reason becomes apparent when you dig a little deeper. This market is not a composite whole. It is a sum of a lot of markets. The brand that dominates in Kerala is not the brand that does well in Tamil Nadu. And this is the norm as far as jewelry goes. Each state and each region has its dominant player. Advertising campaigns have not been able to change this pattern. It remains to be seen if the recent IPO will change things.
If you dig a bit more, you will find out why no one has been able to break free of this regional play. Visit five leading jewelers in Kerala or Tamil Nadu or any other state and the reason becomes obvious. All of them without exception stock the same pieces of jewelry that their competitor does. The same chains, the same necklaces, the same bangles, the same rings, the same everything. Or you can go online to check photographs of brides across states, and you will see that in each state the jewelry worn by the bride is almost identical. You might ask ‘why should I check bridal pictures?’ Because almost 60% of all jewelry purchased in India is purchased for weddings.
If you happen to know the person who owns a jewelry brand or do a little research, you’ll soon figure out why this is so. All of them source their jewelry from the same manufacturers; those based out of Mumbai or Kolkata. And over time the big manufacturers and jewelry brands have decided between themselves what “Kerala jewelry” is and what “Tamil Nadu jewelry” is. And what they have decided is what gets stocked at the jewelry outlets in these states.
And as long as this remains the case no brand will be able to break free of the regional divide.
But if you are a brand that is itching to break free then what do you do? Here is our studied take
- You need to look at the product
- More specifically you need to look at your wedding product
- You need to create a design differentiator
- You need to create stories around your differentiator
- You need to embrace everything digital without any inhibitions
If not, you will find yourself at the mercy of market forces. You will never quite feel in control.