Jewellery has always been a dominant area of demand for gold. Prized for its value as well as its beauty, gold jewellery has a universal status that remains constant. Over the past five years (2011-2015), it has accounted for around 50 per cent of world gold demand, on average, but the source of this demand has shifted in line with the new dynamics of economic growth and wealth in the world.
India and China are the two largest markets for gold jewellery, together representing over half of global consumer demand in 2015. Part of the large appetite for jewellery in these countries is driven by the cultural role gold plays; it is considered auspicious to buy gold at key festivals and events. Limited access to financial assets means gold has an important parallel status as a store of value. In both India and China, gold jewellery is a desirable possession as well as an investment to be passed down through generations.
This demand currently shows no signs of abating, driven by growing wealth and demographic shifts: by 2020 India and China combined will have one billion new urban consumers. These aspirational populations in Asia are also experiencing a rise in disposable income, which is driving gold demand.