31 October, 2023

Jewellery demand softens slightly in Q3; holds steady y-t-d

  • Jewellery consumption in Q3 was slightly weaker y/y (-2%), although it held 4% above its five-year average1 
  • The environment of high gold prices and economic uncertainty was a key driver of the y/y decline, particularly in some of the more price-sensitive markets in Asia and the Middle East
  • Y-t-d jewellery consumption is virtually flat on the same period of 2022, at 1,467t (vs 1,462t).
TonnesQ3'22Q3'23 y/y change
World total525.7516.2-2%
China, P.R.:Mainland163.2153.7-6%

Source: Metals Focus, World Gold Council

Global gold jewellery consumption saw the usual seasonal q/q uptick in Q3, gaining 8% over the previous quarter. But on a y/y basis demand was 2% lower, as gold prices remained very elevated –hitting new records in some markets due to currency moves.2 Global jewellery fabrication was marginally stronger than consumption, down just 1% y/y at 578.2t. Global inventories grew by 62t during the quarter as a result. 

Growth in India was fully offset by y/y declines in China, which saw a disappointing Q3 as consumers were reluctant to buy in the face of the very high local price premium, which raised expectations of a price correction.

Jewellery demand has continued to hold up relatively well in spite of the very high price environment this year. But risks to this sector remain, given the precarious economic scenario in many markets and continued pressure on consumers from the cost of living crisis.


Global jewellery demand y-t-d is on par with 2022*

Global jewellery demand y-t-d is on par with 2022*

Global jewellery demand y-t-d is on par with 2022*
* Data as of 30 September 2023. Source: Metals Focus, World Gold Council

Sources: Metals Focus, Refinitiv GFMS, World Gold Council; Disclaimer

* Data as of 30 September 2023.


China’s gold jewellery demand in Q3 was 6% lower y/y at 154t, but saw the usual seasonal rebound from Q2 (+16% q/q). Y-t-d demand is 8% higher at 481t, an impressive performance in the face of a soaring local gold price. And thanks to the record-level quarterly average local gold price, 2023 saw the highest Q3 demand in value terms, totalling RMB71bn, or US$10bn.  

The y/y decline in jewellery demand was chiefly due to Q3’22 being a relatively strong base and the RMB gold price being considerably higher y/y. Gifting demand around Chinese Valentine’s Day in August and bridal jewellery purchases during the quarter – ahead of the peak October wedding season – were decent. In addition, gold’s rising appeal as a safe-haven asset also buoyed gold jewellery sales (which greatly outperformed other jewellery categories).

However, many consumers were reluctant to buy into the strengthening local gold price in Q3, fearing a possible price correction. The higher price also translated into lower average weight of jewellery items purchased, as consumers tend to have a fixed budget. During our market visits retailers frequently cited the soaring RMB gold price as a key deterrent to their sales.

Competition from spending on tourism and entertainment, amid cautiousness on spending in general, also weighed on demand. Cinema box office revenues rose by 72% y/y during the first three quarters whilst H1 expenditure on local tourism saw a 96% surge, limiting budgets for gold jewellery.3 

As the rising gold price constrained sales of big ticket items, retailers continued to adjust their offerings towards higher-margin products and away from gem-set, 18K and conventional 24K products in an effort to shore up profits. Hard pure gold jewellery continued to attract consumers with its lighter weights and better affordability. Stylish designs and constant innovation from the industry has been key to the ever-growing appeal of these products, although at the expense of 18K and 22K products. Antique-crafted gold remained robust; lighter heritage gold jewellery pieces with innovative designs were the most popular.

Looking forward we expect gold demand to remain relatively stable in Q4. The fourth quarter is usually the busiest season for weddings and is positive for gold demand due to the tradition of purchasing gold for betrothal gifts. Holidays and various shopping occasions, such as New Year’s Day and 11 November online shopping carnivals, are likely to provide some support.

But challenges lie ahead. Q4 was off to a disappointing start – the Golden Week Holiday sales were weaker than expected thanks to the elevated local gold price and increased spending on tourism. Additionally, a late Chinese New Year (CNY) Festival is likely to delay the traditional gold sales boost to January 2024, eating into traditional Q4 demand.4 


Jewellery demand in India rose in Q3 – the first y/y improvement since Q3 last year. Demand was up 7% to 156t – 19% above its five-year average of 130t. However, the market remains weaker y-t-d compared with the same period last year (363t vs 381t in 2022), as record local gold prices deterred consumers.

During Q3 the correction in the local gold price from record highs, combined with the festive season in south India, were the two major drivers of growth. After a fairly soft start to the quarter – in part due to Adhik Maas, which is viewed as inauspicious for making new purchases – August and September witnessed a pick-up in activity thanks to festivals such as Onam and Varalakshmi.

Festive purchases helped south India outperform other regions. By contrast, north India was the weakest and saw a y/y decline, partly reflecting a weaker rural sector and a relative lack of major festivals during the quarter.

Lower-carat (18K and 14K) jewellery has gained popularity in the face of an elevated gold price and has benefited from retailers promoting these higher-margin products. On a relative basis, large retailers have continued to perform well, reaping rewards from their aggressive marketing campaigns.


Indian jewellery demand strengthened in Q3 despite the elevated local gold price*

Indian jewellery demand strengthened in Q3 despite the elevated local gold price

Indian jewellery demand strengthened in Q3 despite the elevated local gold price
Source: Bloomberg, ICE Benchmark Administration, Metals Focus, World Gold Council

Sources: Bloomberg, ICE Benchmark Administration, Metals Focus, World Gold Council; Disclaimer

*Data as of 30 September 2023.

Jewellery fabrication jumped 9% y/y to 199t, the highest Q3 figure since 2015. Lower gold prices, continued retail network expansion, and the anticipation of a good wedding and festive season led to this jump, with retailers stocking up in preparation.

India’s outlook for the remainder of the year is healthy, although with an element of caution. The seasonal boost in festive and wedding purchases should help release pent-up demand, particularly after a relatively weak H1. But if the sharply higher prices of early Q4 persist demand may be constrained. 

Middle East and Turkey

Investment motives continued to drive jewellery demand in Turkey; Q3 demand was 2% higher y/y at just over 11t. Jewellery demand has now posted six consecutive quarters of y/y increases. As a result the Q1-Q3 total reached 31t – the highest since 2015. 

Local gold prices hit a new record high in July. Although the persistent price strength presented a headwind, it was outweighed by the demand for gold as a hedge against unrelenting consumer inflation and a safe haven amid the continued challenging economic and political environment. 

Jewellery demand across the Middle East continued to ebb lower in Q3 as the 2022 post-COVID resurgence faded from view. Demand across the region was 12% lower y/y at just under 43t, although this was 5% higher than the 41t five-year average. The UAE saw a y/y decline of 15% to 9t, largely due to last year’s high base. The y-t-d comparison exemplifies this: Q1-Q3 demand is down 19% on the same period of 2022 at 29t (vs 36t).

Egypt was the region’s weakest performer, with Q3 demand 27% lower y/y as ongoing depreciation of the local pound saw the weight of purchases decline. The challenging local economic environment suggests demand weakness will continue. Egypt was the region’s only market where demand slipped below its five-year average (-7% vs the 7t average).  

Total y-t-d demand in the Middle East is now 9% lower y/y, at 131t.

US and Europe

US jewellery demand continued to subside from the relatively high levels of the last couple of years. Q3 demand was 4% lower y/y at 29t, influenced by the continued shift in consumer behaviour – with an increasing focus on services/experiences rather than goods – as well as the higher gold price. A decline in the number of weddings was also thought to have an impact, as the post-COVID backlog is cleared. 

Y-t-d jewellery demand in the US was below that of both 2022 and 2021, years boosted by Federal income support programmes and lockdown-enhanced savings. But demand remains firmly above pre-COVID norms: average Q1-Q3 demand for the five years preceding COVID was 77t, 13% lower than the 88t total for 2023 so far. 

Jewellery consumption in Europe was affected by the deteriorating economic backdrop, falling 3% y/y to 13t. Italy and the UK drove the weakness. Y-t-d, the UK is wholly responsible for the region’s -1% y/y decline to 40t.

ASEAN markets

Jewellery consumption in Thailand fell for the third consecutive quarter, albeit by a more modest 2%, to 2t. The decline reflected volatility in local prices, as well as a slowdown in high-value spending due to economic and political uncertainty and currency depreciation. 

While demand has been slow there have been signs of a pickup in urban centres, boosted by improved tourism numbers. In contrast, rural demand has been impacted by a struggling agricultural sector.

Vietnamese jewellery demand fell for the third consecutive quarter, down 14% y/y to 3t. This is the lowest Q3 total since 2021 and takes y-t-d demand down to just over 11t, 17% lower y/y. High inflation and slower-than-expected economic growth have impacted consumer spending.

Jewellery demand in Indonesia fell 20% y/y to just under 6t. Stubbornly high domestic gold prices kept a lid on demand as the rupiah weakened sharply against the US dollar during the quarter. In particular, the high price made consumers more inclined to buy lower carat items. However, the domestic economy is showing healthy growth and the inflation rate is relatively well contained, factors that should provide support to consumer demand.5

Rest of Asia

Q3 saw a third consecutive improvement in Japanese jewellery demand: it climbed 5% y/y to a seven-quarter high of 5t. Quasi-investment gold kihei chains remain popular as the yen-denominated gold price continued to reach fresh record highs due to local currency weakness.

Jewellery demand in South Korea extended its longer term decline. Demand slid below 3t for the first time in our data series, 37% below the five-year average level. The won depreciated during the quarter, which kept gold prices elevated and deterred jewellery consumers.


Australian jewellery consumption remained subdued in the face of continued strength in the local gold price and the cost of living crisis. Demand dropped 12% y/y to 2t, taking the y-t-d total to just over 7t (-7% y/y).


  1. ‘Five-year average’ refers to the average of the preceding 20 quarters

  2. The average Q3 LBMA PM price was US$1,928.5/oz, 12% higher than the average in Q3’22 of US$1,728.9/oz.

  3. Chinese New Year's Day is on 10 February 2024.

Important disclaimers and disclosures [+]Important disclaimers and disclosures [-]