Forevermark Plans to Increase Stores to 275 by ’19: Sachin Jain
The young and dynamic President of Forevermark (India) shares his views exclusively with Mines to Market on the strategies and expansion plans of the brand in India. Here are the excerpts:
Q.How was 2018 as far as Forevermark’s India performance in India was is concerned? How do you see the growth rate in 2019?
A.Since Forevermark’s debut in India in 2011, the brand has grown at a massive scale year after year. Although 2018 was quite a difficult year for the diamond industry in India, that was brought on by fluctuations in exchange rates, the GST and tighter regulations pertaining to cash purchases.
However, despite these challenges, we have registered a growth of over 50% in that year. While India accounts for approximately 10% of our total number of retail partners, it also brings in over 25% of our global sales. The demand for diamonds has already recovered in the fourth half of this fiscal.
Q.Many consumers are not aware about Forevermark in rural areas. How is the brand progressing in rural areas?
A. Over the past few years, Forevermark has expanded its presence to over 40 cities across India. We not only have our brand’s presence in Tier- 1 metro markets but have also established in Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations. In these locations, we have and will continue to partner with select authorised jewellers who share our brand ethos.
Much of the growth in the last couple of years has come from smaller towns and cities since customers today share the same aspirations as their counterparts in the bigger metros.
Forevermark has also had a stronger presence in the South especially in Tirupati and Thiruvananthapuram. Our recent expansions have also been driven by a growing network in the East, with cities like Durgapur and Asansol showing higher growth rates. We plan to increase our store count to 275 by the end of 2019.
Q. What is your road-map to overtake China’s market share, as far as Forevermarksales are concerned?
A. The volume of Forevermark diamonds that we drive through Indian partners is much higher than other parts of the world. India currently accounts for nearly 25% of our global sales in volumes, which is close to 4,00,000 diamond pieces. Like the past years, if our sales continue to grow by 50% or more, India could surpass China and become the largest market for Forevermark.
Q. Indian consumers always look for some cheaper diamonds. Do you think the LGDs would prove any threat to the growth of Forevermark?
A. We believe that natural diamonds have an enduring value and will only continue to grow over the coming decades. In contrast, we’ve seen that over time that when synthetic materials are introduced into any category, their value depreciates over time.
Because synthetic diamonds are mass produced in factories using industrial reactors or high-pressure presses, the technology has enabled these diamonds to be available in larger sizes and with fewer imperfections. However, they can still be readily detected from natural diamonds.
While there is a place for both, we don’t see LGDs as a threat to Forevermark’s growth, because when it comes to aspiration, people will gravitate towards a natural diamond than a synthetic one.
Q. Please unveil your future plans to expand the brand’s presence in India.
A. Forevermark has done extremely well in India and this year we hope to grow sales by 50%. We currently have 240 doors in India and aim to reach 275 by the end of 2019. In terms of exclusive Forevermark boutiques, we have one in Kolkata and one Bangalore. We are soon opening doors in Hyderabad along with Kirtilalsand aim to launch Mumbai and Delhi by year-end as well.