Stock Dubai Gold
Gold is back to being volatile. While still in favourable range for shoppers at under $1,700 an ounce, this week saw prices spike by $40 overnight. Shoppers need to go online to safeguard against such volatility. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE’s gold shoppers have some learning to do – and it’s not about waiting for prices to dip in a seesawing market. No, this has to do with when they place their orders and how they do it.

Because it’s by now quite clear that the old ways of seeing a favourable price drop and then heading for the jewellery stores will not work any longer, at least not in the present. “On Wednesday, international gold prices were at $1,620 levels and with the UAE rate at a highly favourable Dh185 a gram for 22K,” said a jeweller. “But by late evening UAE time, prices had shot up to $1,661, and that left many shoppers who were planning a purchase the next day or this weekend disappointed. It also caught many of the tourist shoppers by complete surprise”

With good reason too, because the UAE gold rate early on Thursday would reflect the $1,660 levels. Now, this meant a price in the Dh187 range – but for the gold buyer, even those two dirhams count. “Shoppers want to feel they are getting in at the right price, it’s a mindset thing and when those kind of price jumps happen, they delay purchases,” said the retailer.

The way gold prices have been behaving in these two months is unlike anything in the recent past. Then, it was more than likely that a particular rate would hold for days – not like the matter of hours seen now. Now, best way to get the right deal is to call in and book early. 

"We are seeing lots of buyers call in to reserve commitments and then complete their purchase later," said Rohan Siroya of Evermore. 

We opened booking forms quite some time back- shoppers have been taking more advantage of it in the past few weeks.

- Rohan Siroya of Evermore
Not just online, even Augmented Reality is making its way into the gold shopping experience. Image Credit: Supplied

This means anyone interested in gold – and there are lots in the UAE – need to think different.

There is a solution

It’s simple – go online and check out the jewellery retailer of your choice. If the UAE gold rate at that moment is what you were hoping for, book/reserve online at that price. “Because what we are seeing is that too often bullion prices rise overnight, often sharply like what we saw late September 28,” said a retailer. “The reverse too could happen with prices dropping – and for that, if shoppers want they can do the same once the next UAE gold rate is set.

“Online booking does help shoppers get the best from the price fluctuations.”

Advance booking (from online) has expedited ever since prices started falling. We have experienced more demand for advance booking this year and expect at least 25-30% of our Diwali seasonal sales will come this way

- Abdul Salam K. P., Vice-Chairman of Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

Come into its own during Covid

Online booking and sales within the UAE’s gold and jewellery market has been there for a few years now, and which came into sharper profile during the 2020 Covid phase. Retailers invested in AR (augmented reality) to help shoppers try out collections and ‘see’ how these pieces looked on them. But online sales has not exactly been the revenue creator that retailers had been hoping for.

“The touch-feel-put on aspect for buying jewellery has never left the UAE shopper,” said a retailer who is one of the biggest names in diamond sales in the UAE. “Once Covid receded, they got back into stores at the first instance.

“With the current fluid situation on gold prices, this is a good time to get back online.”

Online shopping has gained momentum and business through our e-commerce channel has grown significantly across all of Titan Company’s divisions. With UAE having a strong digital penetration, we are on track to leverage ecommerce as a channel soon. In a category like jewellery, assisted online selling helps customers discover products from the comfort of their homes and then buy either online or instore

- Kuruvilla Markose, CEO - International Business Division, Titan Company, part of Tata Group