However, the survey also stresses a lack of trust among prospective gold buyers, not only in India but globally. “There is some mistrust among those that have never bought gold in the past but are open to the idea of buying in the future, with 48 per cent and 28 per cent of all potential investors and jewellery consumers, respectively, citing lack of trust as a significant barrier. That could be mistrust around fake or counterfeit bars and coins, product purity, or the trustworthiness of some retailers.”
Of the 48 per cent who have not invested in gold due to mistrust, 28 per cent say they were worried about fake gold. As for jewellery, among the 28 per cent who have not bought, 19 per cent have stayed away as they are not sure of the purity being promised and the rest do not trust retail jewellers.
Trust has been a constant issue in India. Though that has not deterred Indians from buying jewellery, the demand remained limited to marriages and other such festivities. Hallmarking has been promoted aggressively by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). According to BIS data, 90 per cent of jewellery manufactured in the country are now hallmarked. So, there is a case for making it mandatory and taking stern actions against those still not selling genuinely hallmarked jewellery.
Of those who have bought gold in the past, 48 per cent are considering doing so again. Of the ones who have never bought gold, 38% are interested in buying, and 13% want to stay away, according to the survey. In fact, country-wise results for those who have invested in gold previously show that in India 49 per cent want to buy again; in the US, 48 per cent; and in China 56 per cent.
World Gold Council Chief Executive Officer David Tait says: “The retail gold market is healthy, with gold being considered a mainstream choice. But what really excites me is the untapped part of the market — those people who have never bought gold but are warm to the idea of doing so in the future.
However, he suggests: “Two issues need to be addressed for engaging with these potential gold buyers: trust and awareness. This market can flourish if we can build trust across the broad spectrum of gold products being sold and raise awareness around the positive role gold can play in protecting people’s wealth.”
Interestingly, 61 per cent of retail investors said that they feel gold is relatively stable across generations and trust it more than currencies. Among all assets classes globally, 64 per cent prefer gold, 40 per cent investment funds, 40 per cent crypto currencies and 39 per cent shares. Cryptos, however, are seen good for short-term gains only. India doesn’t allow investing in crypto currencies.
Another interesting aspect telling of how consumers buy gold is, “gold compares poorly to other retail investments and fashion items when looked at through the lens of digital distribution, marketing and communication. Global retail investors buy only 9 per cent of gold coins and 6 per cent of jewellery online, compared with 25 per cent gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs).”
In India, however, 80 million people are so far registered as digital gold buyers, They buy gold online and let it be digitally stored on their behalf. E-commerce in jewellery is also catching up, albeit at a slow pace.
What World Gold Council says
18,000 consumers surveyed across major markets
48% said they will buy gold again
38% new buyers waiting to buy
More and more millennials buy pink and white gold in US and China while Indian young consumers are traditional
More consumers in 18-22 age group want to buy gold in India than US or China
31% of urban Indians prefer to buy with Roboadvisors’ recommendations