Despite a changing trend of increase in the usage of artificial jewellery against gold and other precious ornaments, the traders of this sector faced almost 25 percent reduction in sale during Eid season. Amidst fear of loss in view of the poor law order situation in Karachi, citizens especially women were reluctant to visit the artificial jewellery market situated in the old city area affecting the business of artificial jewellery badly.
Besides, the law enforcement agencies and administrations also forced the retailers/wholesalers of the items to close shops/markets by 6pm which confined the ailing business to only six to seven hours. According to M Sabir, President Small Traders of Artificial Jewellery and General Merchant Association people mostly move to markets after Iftar timings for shopping of Eid, the market, surprisingly, remained closed during the peak hours of demand thus causing a drastic reduction in trade of artificial jewellery this year.
Besides, the frequent outages of electricity and traffic jams on M A Jinnah Road and its linked roads throughout Ramazan, were other reasons which kept the visitors away from the market. The supply to other retail markets in the city also remained thin as the ornaments at major markets mostly in the city’s outskirts also witnessed less demand against expectations.
According to him, the traders however were expecting a positive growth in sale of artificial jewellery during this religious festival as deteriorating law and order situation in the country and ever-rising gold prices have already boosted the trade of artificial jewellery including simple earrings, bangles and other bridal sets. The fear and uncertainty in the city, affecting routine life and business of the citizens have, interestingly, gave a positive jump in the trade of artificial jewellery as young girls and women do not risk using precious/expensive pieces amidst fear of loss. They are now looking for alternative sources to make up for their needs of ornamentation on weddings and other social events. They are moving towards artificial pieces. A significant drop in the sales has been observed in the yellow metal for the past few years.
According to him, the other factor behind the rise of artificial jewellery is falling purchasing power for customers, who cannot afford to buy gold and other precious made-ups such as diamonds. On the other the artificial one is cheap, safe and in fashion, besides, women feel secure wearing the same as compared to gold. Women, because of its affordability, buy matching jewellery (artificial) with all their outfits. Pakistan was presently importing 25 percent of artificial jewellery from India while the rest of 75 percent demand was being met from China.