Purpose -This research paper seeks to find the factors that affect the purchase of jewellery. The paper explores effect of brand image on purchasing jewellery. It explores whether normative influence has an impact on the brand consciousness. Further it studies the impact of brand consciousness on the perceived quality and the emotional value attached to the piece of jewellery. The aforementioned attributes, that is, Normative Influence, Brand Consciousness, Perceived Quality, Emotional Value and Purchase Intention form the five constructs under study.
Design/methodology/approach – An online questionnaire conducted amongst people who intend to buy jewellery in the future or have bought jewellery themselves. 240 people participated in the survey.
Findings – <>
Practical implications – <>
Keywords – Normative Influence, Brand Consciousness, Perceived Quality, Emotional Value, Purchase Intention, Jewellery, India
Paper type – Research paper
Gems and Jewellery form an integral part of Indian traditions. They are either passed on as family heirlooms or exchanged as gifts during occasions such as birthdays and marriages. Gold especially has great significance for us since it is considered the purest of metals. It is also considered a safe investment option by Indian investors, who are generally risk averse and prefer to park their savings in physical assets like gold and real estate rather than in the equity markets. The total gold demand in 2009-10 was pegged at 432 tonnes by the global consultancy firm GFMS Ltd, which amounts to almost 20% of the global gold consumption; yet Indians are still not satisfied. Gold imports saw a 74.3% rise in January-April 2010 compared to the same period the previous year, while the organized sector is expected to register 40% growth and will be worth $2.2 billion by 2010  .
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Diamond, platinum and other precious and semi-precious stones are also important components of the gems and jewellery industry. India is the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre with 11 out of 12 diamonds sold in the global market being polished in India. The diamond processing industry’s annual revenue is currently $13.03 billion. Overall, total gems and jewellery exports rose by 16% to $28.4 billion in FY 2010 from $24.5 billion in FY 2009. The domestic jewellery market is valued at $16 billion according to Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE)  .
The industry and the government are taking steps to consolidate this growth. Notable initiatives include the strategic tie-up between the Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) and the Indian Commodity Exchange Ltd (ICEX) and provision of interest subvention of two percent and duty drawback facilities. The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has initiated the IIJS Signature campaign which intends to promote India as the preferred destination for jewellery. It will soon be hosting IIJS Mumbai 2010 from August 19-23, which will be the largest jewellery show in India.
The jewellery market in India is an unorganized and fragmented market with 96%  of the shops owned by family business, i.e. there are about 2.5 million jewellery shops in India and most of them are family run. India is estimated to have 450,000 goldsmiths, 100,000 gold jewellers along with 6,000 diamond processing players and 8,000 diamond jewellers. The country’s jewellery retail sector is also expected to evolve with a shift among consumers towards branded jewellery, driven by greater quality consciousness. The major branded jewellery players in the market are Gitanjali Gems, Rajesh Exports, Suhashish Diamonds, Su-Raj Diamonds, Vaibhav Diamonds and Tanishq. These players intend to strengthen their manufacturing process, increase retail operations, conduct brand building exercises and foray into the international markets. Brands like Tanishq are said to be growing at a steady 4% market share. Despite this, the jewellers that succeed in the Indian market are the local jewellers who have built trusting relationships with the consumer over a long period of time. Though the consumers still believe in going to trusted family jeweller, it is expected that there will be a rise in the need for branded jewellery.
There is a high influence of others on development of attitudes, interests, norms, and purchase behaviour. (Yu-An Huang, Ian Phau, Chad Lin, 2010). These individuals conform to group norms or modify their judgments based upon others’ evaluations. Normative influence has been defined as “the need to identify with or enhance one’s image in the opinion of significant others through the acquisition and use of products and brands, the willingness to conform to the expectations of others regarding purchase decisions” (Bearden et al., 1989). Jewellery has long been associated as the artefact displaying social status to others and thus conforms to the expectations of others. (Goffman, 1951) Jewellery is a product that is worn for public display. The jewellers also communicate to the consumers that the product reflects consumers’ social life, aspirations, and their affiliation (Levy, 1959; Solomon, 1986). The social role of jewellery is even more important in developing countries, where interpersonal relationships are of prime importance (Ger et al., 1993). India is a collectivistic society tends to be group-oriented (Hofstede, 2001) and maintain interpersonal relationships by being in tune with the wishes and feelings of others (Albert, 1996). In collectivist societies, consumers rely more on interpersonal relationships for information search or exchange. Indians are status-oriented and want to exhibit their social standing through their possessions (George D. Spindler and Louise S. Spindler ,1957). These characteristics heighten their awareness of and attraction to brands in the market. Hence, it can be said that:
H1. Consumers who have a higher level of normative interpersonal influence will have a higher level of brand consciousness.
Consumers perceive a brand based upon quality (Doyle, 2001). Quality has been associated with brand name (Batra et al., 2000; Maxwell, 2001). According to Jamal and Goode (2001), a brand-conscious consumer tends to place more importance on attributes such as brand name
than one who is not interested in buying well-known branded products. Based on this reasoning, it can be said that:
H2. Consumers who have a higher level of brand consciousness will perceive the jewellery to be of higher quality.
Products and brands may provide non-utilitarian benefits such as fun and enjoyable experiences that generate distinct emotional value for consumers (Holbrook, 1986). Jewellery has long been associated with emotions as it passes down generation to generation. Emotional value is defined as the benefit derived from the feeling or affective states (i.e.enjoyment or pleasure) that a product generates (Sweeney and Soutar, 2001). As a product category that induces high involvement and interest jewellery tends to evoke emotion as consumers go through the stages of selection and use. Additionally, it has been reported that a positive relationship exists between brand consciousness and emotional value (Wang et al., 2000).
H3. Consumers who have a higher level of brand consciousness will perceive the jewellery to have higher emotional value.
Functional value and emotional value are conceptually related (Babin et al., 1994). Specifically, perceived quality, which is reinforced through the shopping experience creates personal shopping value and encourages patronage (Darden and Babin, 1994; Wakefield and
Baker, 1998). Therefore, higher product quality enhances the consumer emotionally by providing more enriching and fulfilling experience (Babin et al., 2004). Thus:
H4. Consumers who perceive the jewellery to have higher quality also will perceive it to have higher emotional value.
Consumers may intend to purchase a particular brand because they perceive the brand to offer the right features, quality, or performance benefits. The perception of high quality may be closely linked to the differentiation and superiority of a particular brand and thus encourage them to choose that brand over competing brands (McConnell, 1968; Yoo et al., 2000). Simply put, other aspects of any two brands being equal, consumers may purchase the brand with higher quality. Thus:
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H5. Consumers who perceive the jewellery to have higher quality will have a higher purchase intention toward the brand.
While consumers may choose a particular brand based on quality, their brand purchase is increasingly driven by their emotional needs as well. Because emotional value is closely related to positive feelings from using the brand, it increases consumer intention to repurchase the brand (Stauss and Neuhaus, 1997; Yu and Dean, 2001). In other words, consumers who are emotionally satisfied with the purchase of a brand tend to re-purchase the brand even when provided with other options (Gobe, 2001). Also, Batra and Homer (2004) argue that the emotional benefits desired by consumers from a brand have a greater impact on intentions and actual behavior (e.g. brand choice) than on brand attitudes. Thus:
H6. Consumers who perceive the jewellery to have higher emotional value will have a higher purchase intention toward the brand.
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