Gold or gadgets? Millennials may not be pawnshop-ready

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2017 12:25 PM

MANILA – Faced with a cash crunch, millennials are unlikely to get as much out of their gadgets and silver accessories than the gold jewelry of their parents, the head of one of the country’s largest pawnshop operators said.

Gold can be pawned at a much higher price compared to smartphones and laptops, Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier said in an exclusive interview with ANC’s The Boss.

“There’s nothing like buying gold and using it. It’s a great tool to use to save,” Lhuillier said.

“Millennials today, they buy their gadgets, their Androids, their bags, but there’s still more value in buying gold jewelry than buying all those,” he said.

An Apple iPhone 6s Plus with 64GB of storage that retailed for roughly P45,000 2 years ago, can be pawned for P12,000, according to Cebuana’s online appraisal calculator. A 2-year-old Samsung S6 Edge Plus with comparable specifications and price was appraised lower at P9,600.

“Gold is not really a friend of them,” Lhuillier said. “They buy Pandora-type of jewelry. They buy accessories more than gold jewelry. They’re all going for the look, for the style.”

Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier speaks to Cathy Yang for ANC's The Boss. ABS-CBN News

While younger Filipinos are acquiring more items with diminishing pawn value, the number of pawnshop clients who redeem their items have grown, Lhuillier said.

Some 12 to 15 percent of clients don’t recover their pawned items, down from 25 to 30 percent, he said.

“People still love their items. They cherish it. They find ways to pay,” he said.

Lhuillier said that while the pawnshop industry was “shrinking,” Cebuana is looking to grow its financial services portfolio, which includes microinsurance, micro loans without collateral and remittance.

“Our goal here to be the P10,000 cash king, anything that’s under P10,000, you come to us, we simplify it,” he said.

He said Cebuana Lhuillier would grow its outlets to between 12,000 to 13,000 in the next 2 years.

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