The gem and jewellery industry is gearing up for the 6th edition of Signature, which will be held in 161 Mumbai from February 22 to February 25, 2013. Exhibitors are busy preparing their stocks while retailers are getting ready to scour the aisles to pick up on the latest trends and refill their inventories.
Organized by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Signature is a top-of-the-line trade show, presenting the country's leading manufacturers and their exquisite jewellery collections. It attracts national as well as an international presence. Signature focuses on exclusiveness and quality, not only in terms of merchandise but also in its lavish ambience and facilities. 'I he Signature shows is well-timed as retailers can organize their inventory before the run-up to the wedding season and festivals like Akshaya Tritiya and Guddi Padva.
"GJEPC's trade shows provide an opportunity to members to develop their business while keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry and the market. While the IIJS is a huge and multi-Eiceted show, covering every aspect of the trade, Signature is focused on the retailers' need for quality products and trusted suppliers. Its relaxed, compact ambience provides a platform for closer interaction with the manufacturers and more time to discuss business, thus building long-term relationships," said Haresh Zaveri, convenor of the GJEPC exhibitions sub-committee (national).
Each year, the show further consolidates its stature as the premier B2B event that fulfils retailers' requirements. 'The response from the industry is phenomenal 95% of trade buyers said that they would visit again, while a near perfect score of 96% exhibitors wanted to return to the show as per a recent survey by Ipsos Business Consulting, a leading research agency.
Having seen a significant rise in participation levels, Signature 2013 has added 300 booths to make it a grand total of 561 exhibitors housed in 1,082 booths spread over 32,000 square metres, and is expected to attract over 10,000 visitors.
"This year the show will be bigger, both in terms of exhibitors and visitors. The unique aspect of the show is that it is restricted to only a handful of exhibitors and the focus of the show is on jewellery that is of the highest of design, craftsmanship and finish," said Vipul shah, GJEPC chairman at a recent press conference.
Over 6,000 national and 300 international visitors have already preregistered and the numbers continue to grow. Majority of the exhibitors participate in order to build contacts, boost international sales and promote their products. Serious buyers can spend quality time with vendors and pick up on the latest trends.
The USP of the show, the Signature Club is an aesthetically designed enclave for the creme de la crème of the country's jewellery manufacturers. This year, Signature Club will have two sections - one for gold and the other for studded jewellery. The Elite Club Lounge offers top retailers special privileges to network with industry colleagues and enjoys a relaxed moment.
A new addition this year is the inclusion of grading labs in order to facilitate buyers at the show Signature 2013 also catches up with the digitised world with the opportunity for buyers to interact and confirm their appointments with exhibitors online via the Online Business Matching Programme prior to the show. This interactive platform can be used to screen exhibitors, view their collections, make enquiries and schedule appointments.
The GJEPC will soon launch the Signature Mobile App, which helps visitors navigate their way through the trade floor. The app can be accessed on Apple, BlackBerry and Android phones.
Road shows were conducted across the country as well as in countries like Australia, Brazil, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea to promote Signature 2013 and to ensure maximum registration.
International buyer delegations from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Bangladesh, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkey and China are set to visit the show.
Delegates from China have already expressed their interest in competitively priced loose diamonds as it is a hot trend back home.
Last year, the overall estimated business generated at Signature was a staggering Z680 crore ($128 million) based on the survey conducted by lpsos Business Consulting. This year, exhibitors are buoyant about sales ahead of the wedding season.
Retailers will keep a keen eye for new collections and creative designs in studded and plain gold jewellery.
"We will be bringing a strong delegation of jewellery retailers from Uttarakhand to attend Signature 2013. Since our economy is looking up and disposable incomes are growing, I see great potential in the next six months. The show is well-timed because the beginning of the year is a lean period for retailers they can place orders with the manufacturers, which can be delivered in the next financial year for the wedding season which commences in April. We will be looking mostly for gold jewellery and studded jeweller" said Bipin Berry, president, Uttarakhand and Dehradun Jewellery Association.
In 2013, studded gold jewellery leads the demand followed by plain gold jewellery, loose diamonds, silver and coloured gemstones.
With this year's design concept being inspired by the glory of cultures and the magnificence of gemstones, Signature is set to rekindle its romance with jewels and jewellery in 2013.
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council has strongly recommended that the government implement the Benign Assessment Tax Procedure in the forthcoming Union Budget for 2013-2014 and reduce the import duty on gold to 2%.
The Benign Assessment Tax Procedure which was put forth by the Sivaraman Committee in 2007 -2008 aimed to reduce the net profit to 23% of the turnover instead of 6% for computation of income tax.
Vipul Shah, GJEPC chairman stated at a recently held press conference, "The most significant reform on the agenda is the correct implementation of Benign Assessment Procedure and we are hopeful that the ministry will pay heed to this long overdue policy change:
Overall exports of gems & jeweller,' in 2012 dropped by 17% to $38.2 billion; which can be mainly attributed to the dip in exports of cut & polished diamonds by .373% to $17 billion due to a decrease in circular trading activity in India because of the 2% import duty imposed on cut & polished diamonds.
In order to tackle this decline, the council recommended that the government should nuke allowance for a duty free import quota for cut and polished diamonds to the tune of 15% of the previous year's exports.
"We are suggesting that the government should allow each company to import polished goods valued at 15% of its previous year's turnover, at zero per cent duty," said Pankaj Parekh, GJEPC's vice chairman.
Oh the recent hike in the import duty on gold from 4% to 6%, the council felt that it should be brought down and hoped that they would not further hike the import duty in the budget session in February. "Since the time the import duty on primary gold has increased from 1% to 4% in 2012 and now to 6%, the import duty on linished jewellery has stayed put at 10% the gap between the cost of importing primary gold and finished jewellery has reduced thus making it more viable for people to import jewellery. In case the duty on primary gold is not reduced, we will request the government to increase the import duty on finished jewellery otherwise it will hurt our artisans and 'manufacturing units, 'explained Parekh.
He added, "Moreover this extreme escalation in import duty will also pose a challenge to the jewellery industry at large which will now have to be highly competitive and create light weight jewellery to retain its existing client base. Needless to say, this kind of spiralling duty will also give rise to smuggling of gold bullion and hinder the growth prospects of the industry:
In an effort to boost the gem and jewellery sector the Council is exploring new export avenues such as China, Russia and the Middle East. The GJEPC announced that it will hold an Indo-China buyer-seller meet in Jaipur in the month of April for coloured gemstones. During the course of the year, it also plans to hold an Indo-Australia buyer-seller meet in Sydney and Melbourne.
"The Council is making an effort to expand. We are trying to decrease our dependence on our biggest market, the USA which stands at S>6.1 billion °four total exports. We first started out with China, then Russia, and later to CIS countries. Now we are planning to tap into Australia," said Sabyasachi Ray, executive director, G J EPC.
The Council predicted that silver will emerge as the most preferred metal in 2013. Silver has grown phenomenally by 12.2% to $796.83 million in the last year. "With gold prices shooting up, an alternative to gold is inevitable. So far the Council has promoted gold and diamond-studded jewellery. Now we have to give more emphasis to the promotion of silver and coloured gemstones," said Parekh.
Among other recommendations to the government, GJEPC requested the establishment of Special Notified Zones in India for import and trading of rough diamonds. "This is with the objective of attracting international mining companies and traders to directly sell their goods in India rather than rerouting it through Belgium and Dubai," said Shah.
The Council also suggested that the Indian gem and jewellery industry should come under the zero-rated indirect tax regime. All duties collected by way of Service Tax, VAT or GST should be refunded by way of duty drawbacks.
It also wants the RBI to establish a special fund to the tune of $3-5 billion for the refinance of borrowing given to export industries, which have a high import content of more than 70% of their exports and re-introduce a 2% interest subvention scheme on rupee export credit for the gem and jeweller, sector.
The highlight of the performance review for 2012 indicates a positive balance of payments maintained by the Indian gem and jeweller, sector due to the increased manufacturing and export of gem and jewellery. There was an increase in rough diamond imports in absolute carat volume resulting in a 3.72% growth over the previous year. Total imports of raw material have gone up by 2.55%, implying a higher level of manufacturing activity in India. "
On a positive note, the import of rough diamonds has shown a healthy increase, resulting in high level of diamond jewellery manufacturing activity, higher jewellery exports and eventually a positive balance of payments for the country;" added Shah.