This exploratory study examines the preferences, use and impact of gold savings products amongst migrant households in Kerala in order to better understand the potential impacts of alternate savings products and unpack the different aspects of financial behaviour.
Gold has consistently enjoyed a position of status and desire, revered as a valuable asset and currency throughout human history. In India, the southern states led by Kerala account for over 40% of the gross national demand for gold. Given Kerala’s affinity for gold ownership, combined with its considerable reliance on migrant remittances (36.3% of state GDP), this study focuses on the preferences and patterns of use of Gold Linked Financial Products (GLFPs) among migrant households in Kerala and compares them to non-migrant households in the same region. The study aims to contribute to the existing literature on migrant preferences for formal and informal financial products, and literature on the GLFP industry in India and provide actionable recommendations to policy and industry stakeholders.
This study aims to understand the preferences for and usage patterns of GLFPs among a population comprising of Keralite migrants in the GCC and non-migrant residents in Kerala from the same socio-economic strata with a demonstrated interest and capability to invest in gold, by exploring their preferences for investing in alternate forms of gold. It is descriptive and exploratory in nature and employs a mixed-methods design combining quantitative household surveys with qualitative key informant interviews with sector experts. The study was conducted in five districts of Kerala, comprising of a sample size of randomly selected 1250 households. The sample comprised of 500 non-migrant and 750 migrant households. In each district, 250 households were surveyed, with 150 being migrant and 100 being non-migrant.
Findings from the study suggest that promoting the take-up and adoption of GLFPs can stymie the high level of gold imports in order to bring down the Current Account Deficit. The insights generated from the qualitative analysis also point towards the importance of synergy between the government and other stakeholders in the sector to ensure that these GLFPs are made accessible and are designed to cater to the needs and requirements of the general populace – the average Indian household.
A study of this nature brings much value in understanding the preferences and use of alternative savings products like gold products amongst migrant households in contrast to non-migrant families in order to drive financial inclusion efforts. The findings can inform the design and implementation of financial products and solutions and aid policy and regulatory decisions.