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China gold, jewellery surges on recovery of domestic economy, pent up demand

Chinese consumers bought 198t of gold jewellery in Q1, 41% of the global total. This was the highest first quarter for Chinese jewellery demand since 2015 as Chinese consumers used their wallets to celebrate finally being unleashed from restrictive zero-COVID measures. The recovering domestic economy further ignited demand: Q1 GDP increased 4.5% y/y and household income grew 4% in real terms.1

Pent-up demand from previous quarters also helped. Wedding gold jewellery demand improved amid the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions; the wedding industry has reportedly been operating at full capacity so far in 2023.

And gold jewellery buying was likely spurred by investment motives. The tendency to save among Chinese consumers remains at historically high levels, and gold’s financial value attracted consumer attention. Jewellery (mainly gold) was the second strongest category for y/y sales growth in Q1, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Hard pure gold products gained the most traction. Heritage gold jewellery and hard-gold lightweight products led the sales momentum. Within both the heritage gold and the hard pure gold jewellery, products with enamel and gem inlays rose in popularity.

While pent-up demand worked as the primary catalyst for gold and jewellery sales, jewellers in China introduced creative marketing methods such as pricing transparency to cater to cautious spenders – by adopting the per-gram pricing method for gold jewellery instead of the per-piece model, according to the World Gold Council.

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