Jing Daily reports that Mainland China has taken over Hong Kong’s position as the largest export market for the Swiss watch industry. Hard luxury sales more than halved in the past 5 years, to US$2.5bn, from US$ 5.7bn. After a turbulent few years with typhoons, enduring political unrest and the pandemic restrictions imposed on travel, Chinese shoppers are moving away from shopping in Hong Kong and luxury brands have responded to that trend quickly by expanding their online and offline presence to mainland China, especially to the tax-free hub in Hainan.
Swiss luxury group Richemont announced it had acquired Belgian leather goods label, Delvaux. The group didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction but shared the deal would have “no material financial impact” on the net of the firm’s assets or operating results. According to a Citigroup analyst, the estimated cost of the deal could be as much as 250 million euros ($296 million), adding the move was “consistent with Richemont’s desire to grow in the leather accessories segment.”
LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, recorded revenue of 14 billion euros (US$16.7 billion) in the first quarter of 2021, up 32% compared to the same period in 2020. The quarter marks the return to growth after several quarters of decline during 2020, a year that was severely disrupted by the global pandemic.
The pandemic forced luxury goods companies to use social media, video, and virtual showrooms to woo customers in Europe and keep them shopping at a time when tourists, especially from China, have been absent for more than a year. Analysts believe the government-imposed lockdowns have left wealthy Europeans with money to spend, and designer brands are keen to capture some of that cash.
With Generation Z becoming adults and thus consumers, the sustainability decade is underway. It's widely known Gen Z is willing to reward brands that have a positive impact on the environment and society and disconnect from those that do the opposite. So luxury brands have to step up their game if they want to be agents of change when it comes to sustainability and they should act now. Bain & Company collaborated with sustainability specialist Positive Luxury to paint a picture of what a leading luxury brand might look like in 2030.
Although the pandemic has continued to dominate headlines, a year after the outbreak in the US and Europe, an Israeli study has underscored the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing infection. This, along with news of the Biden administration accelerating the vaccine rollout in the US, and the UK’s successful vaccination program, has given consumers hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
French luxury group Kering, the parent company of Boucheron and Pomellato, has purchased a 5% stake in Vestiaire Collective, a pre-owned luxury e-commerce platform. With this latest move, the company is betting on the booming resale market to help woo younger and more environmentally conscious shoppers.
The investment is part of a 215m USD financing round announced on Monday which valued Vestiaire Collective at more than 1bn USD, the company said. Existing shareholders include Conde Nast and the French private equity firm Eurazeo.
While the pandemic has led to a flurry of engagements, the $73 billion wedding industry has had a considerable shake-up. With wedding plans abruptly being upended, many couples have had to make some tough choices. According to an article published in The Washington Post, couples are considering having a smaller wedding now – with guests attending either in-person or virtually-, postponing to a later date or canceling the plans altogether.
The New York Times writes about how luxury brands who are not typically identified with the high jewelry category are drawn to big and exclusive diamonds, as a path to be part of what is considered a growth segment. LVMH's Louis Vuitton, partnering with high-end miner Lucara and Belgium-based manufacturer HB Antwerp, the newspaper reports, aims to continue its legacy of creating bespoke pieces, with the 1,758ct enigmatic Sewelô, and the 549ct clear white Sethunya.
In his latest blog, industry analyst Edahn Golan dissects 2020 and comes to the conclusion
- December 2020 US jewelry sales knocked it out of the park and rose to US$13.74bn,
- total retail sales for 2020 were flat despite several months of complete lockdown at the peak of the pandemic, totaling US$62.68bn
- a rebound owed to strong consumer demand, retailers' (esp. independents) ability to adapt to restrictions and reach out to consumers, improved gross margins and higher average ticket prices (from US$596.25 to US$1,110.66)
In the last quarter of 2020, the Natural Diamond Council surveyed 5,000 respondents to better understand the desirability, perceived value, and shopping habits of American Millennials (25 – 39 y/o) and Generation Z (18 – 24 y/o). Together they represent 38% of the adult population and 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. Within the next decade, their income is projected to rise by more than 70%.
Opsydia, a UK-based diamond security innovator, announced its sub-surface laser technology can create nano-scale identifiers requiring a 100x microscope to be read. This breakthrough would make it possible for internally flawless natural diamonds to have a logo, serial number, or encrypted code placed beneath its surface without affecting its clarity grade.
Signet's preliminary holiday sales results indicating the retailer's Path to Brilliance digital first transformation is paying off. JCK reports. E-sales increased 60.8% compared to the same period (Nov 9-Jan 2) y-o-y, while sales in physical stores dropped 4.1%.
According to Jing Daily, China is ready for lavish Chinese New Year Celebrations, after last year's festivities were cut short by the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, luxury brands are eager to take full advantage of the upbeat sentiment and expectations for strong sales of luxury items are high. The threat of a new wave of the pandemic hitting mainland China however remains.
In an elaborate update on the impact of COVID-19 on the global luxury industry, Bain & Company details how the luxury goods industry, has witnessed its sharpest drop in decades, estimated to reach recovery by 2022-2023.
Changing dynamics, such as little to no travel or tourism, changing spending patterns and beliefs and enduring restrictions are shaping the luxury industry of the future, which Bain believes is resilient enough to transform and redefine its purpose to remain relevant, especially towards new, young consumers.
A few key takeaways:
In a press release, that notably contains not a single mentioning of the mining company De Beers that established the LGD brand, Lightbox today announced the completion and opening of its US-based production unit as well as a deal with jewelry e-tailer Blue Nile, for a dedicated fashion jewelry collection available on the online retailers website as of today. The manufacturing facility in Portland will produce an estimated 200,000ct of "USA made" lab-grown diamonds annually.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent restrictions make it impossible to bring together the industry for the 2nd African Diamond Conference, which was set to take place in Durban, South Africa in May this year, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) together with its partners, Belgium’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs and the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), have announced a series of webinars, on October 14, 21 and 28, aimed at sharing information on challenges and opportunities for African diamond producing countries and the diamond industry.
De Beers' LGD jewelry line, Lightbox Jewelry is expanding its scope and will now be sold in 28 additional stores of 10 independent retailers in the US and Canada. Since its launch, Lightbox has been priced uniformly at US$800 per carat. In an interview with JCK News, Nick Smart, the company's commercial director commented that Lightbox products offer "an attractive margin" for the retailer and that in the LGD space, prices have already come down significantly, close to the level of Lightbox' pricing model.
In its first ever celebrity campaign, the Natural Diamond Council is featuring Ana de Armas, rising Hollywood star who recently was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Knives Out and starring in the upcoming No Time To Die Bond film. The new campaign will be released on September 20, during the virtual Emmy awards.
Media reports say LVMH has now definitively backed out of the US$16 billion deal that would merge Tiffany with the French luxury conglomerate. In a response, Tiffany has allegedly filed a lawsuit against LVMH, denouncing LVMH's claim that Tiffany had breached its obligations as stipulated in the merger agreement.
Bloomberg, citing the encouraging jewelry sales results of brands like Signet, Tiffany and Macy's, reports that US shoppers - at least those who can - are spending their money on diamond jewellery, rather than trips or restaurant visits. High-end products have been performing particularly well in the last quarter and those spending are spending more than normal on items, the article states.
Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos is rolling out the Path to Brilliance transformation which focuses on dramatically changing the customer experience by bringing it into the digital world, with virtual appointments, Live experts and events and tying into customers' personal social media channels. The transformation process, which had been initiated before the pandemic, also aims to maximize on current trends focusing on value, values and trust consumers place in Signet's brands with an omnichannel approach.
Tiffany & Co announced it will be detailing the entire journey of each and every diamond in one of their jewels, complete from mine to finished jewelry piece, in a "full craftsmanship journey". In a dedicated certificate, for each stone, Tiffany will tell the story of the diamond's origin, where it was cut and polished, graded and set and in which circumstances. The company believes that by doing so, they will not only tap into consumer demands for transparency, but as an iconic brand also aims to create awareness and inspire others to bring about broader change.
A recent survey, conducted by De Beers, gauging consumer sentiment among 2,800 men and women aged 20 to 65 with household incomes of at least US$75k or similar parameters in the US, India and China, concludes that while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavy on sentiment, respondents feel they are returning to (a new) normal and regaining confidence, with the most positive feedback coming from Chinese respondents.
According to data from Edge Pulse, The Edge Retail Academy's aggregated jewelry sales data platform, US independent jewelers' uptick in sales in June is continued and even amplified in July, with a 10% increase in gross sales. Remarkably, diamonds are driving the improved sales trend, with a 16% increase in gross sales and 19% in the amount of units sold in July.
Alrosa, the world's largest diamond producer and Brilliant Earth, the retailing company that focuses on responsibly sourced fine jewelry including natural and lab-grown diamonds, have partnered for an exclusive jewelry collection under Alrosa's "Diamonds That Care" campaign. The pieces, ranging in price from $790 to $2,190, are made of recycled gold and include natural brownish diamonds mined in the Russian Yakutia region.
National Jeweler reports that independent retailers, according to data rom The Edge Retail Academy performed better than expected with a revenue increase of 2 percent compared to June 2019.
It was a good week for exceptional fancy colored diamonds, as a 12.11 carat marquise shaped fancy intense blue diamond was bought for 15.9 million US$ at Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction, exceeding expectations.
In an extensive report, Rapaport spoke to a number of jewelers across the US, gauging how businesses are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although circumstances were different throughout the US, with states deciding independently on how strict they applied lockdown measures, the majority of retailers came up with ways to adapt, through appointments, curbside pickups or even home deliveries. The impact of the global pandemic is hitting jewelry retail sales, but many jewelers seem optimistic.
Beleaguered by the unprecendented challenges now dragging on for nearly a year, luxury brands have started throwing in the proverbial towel on their Russel Street shops in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay, considered the world’s most expensive shopping street. "Already struggling for survival after months of civil unrest crippled Hong Kong’s economy," writes Pearl Liu for the South China Morning Post, "the final blow for many came this year with the coronavirus pandemic, which killed off any remaining consumer sentiment."
Consumers across Asia are rushing to luxury stores to buy luxury items before an expected price hike. After Louis Vuitton raised prices last week - the third price hike in 2020, many consumers expect other brands like Chanel, Dior and Gucci will follow suit. Higher prices are one strategy to make up for losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jing Daily reports.
Across Asia, thanks to pent-up demand and the inability for shoppers to travel and buy luxury goods abroad, the luxury market has seen growing in-store traffic and sales.
Daniel Langer, consultant for some of the world's leading luxury brands, in an article in Jing Daily says that despite our intuition - people spend and will spend less on luxury in and after a crisis - the luxury segment is more resilient than others.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre continues its AWDC Webinar Series this week Friday, April 24 from 12:30-14:00 with a presentation on the "Polished Market: a Q&A with Edahn Golan."
In this webinar, AWDC is having a chat with industry expert Edahn Golan on the current state of the market, what we have learned from previous crises concerning how to manage our business when we are in the midst of one, and advice on how to prepare to reboot your company after COVID-19 has subsided. Mr. Golan will be discussing questions such as
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded revenue of 10.6 billion euros (11.5 billion dollars) for the first quarter of 2020, down 15 percent compared to the same period in 2019 and down 17 percent on an organic basis. The group says that with these results, LVMH "has proven its ability to be resilient in an economic environment disrupted by a serious health crisis that has led to the closure of stores and manufacturing sites in most countries in recent weeks, as well as the suspension of international travel."
According to Swiss newspaper “Le Temps” the world’s largest luxury watch and jewelry show, Baselworld, is in danger of becoming extinct. The newspaper cites from a leaked letter from angry exhibitors, who are threatening to turn their backs on the fair for good, if they aren’t reimbursed fully for costs already made for this year’s – canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – edition. According to the article, the exhibitors were offered a financial agreement which they believe is inadequate and they demand a full refund.
U.S.-based Signet Jewelers, 'the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry', has temporarily closed all of its stores in North America effective March 23, 2020 in response to the continued spread and impact of COVID-19. The company has also declined to issue a guidance for Q1 or for the full year of Fiscal 2021, instead opting to provide an update on first quarter sales trends to date.
The Copenhqgen-based cotume jewelry giant Pandora has announced the temporary closure of all of its owned & operated stores in the U.S., Italy, Germany, France and Spain, and in most other European markets in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. They have additionally temporarily closed many of our stores around the world, along with most of their offices. Office staff is working from home. Pandora employs 28,000 people worldwide.
Diamond jewelry retail sales in the US soared 20% after 9/11. History shows us that after large-scale disasters and economic meltdowns, there is a tendency to spend on diamond jewelry. History has shown us that it will get better after it gets worse.
- Edahn Golan, from his article, "Ruin to Resurrection, the Perpetual Path"
While the rest of the world is tightening measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese customers - constituting a whopping third of global luxury industry’s sales and the driving force of global growth in this segment in recent years - are slowly returning to the country’s luxury shopping malls as local quarantine measures are eased.
Hong Kong's leading diamond jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook unexpected released key unaudited data for the two months ended 29 February 2020, revealing that sales at all points of sale in Mainland China fell 42 percent while those in Hong Kong and Macau fell 60 percent in the first two months of 2020. The jeweler attributes the decline to the temporary shutdown of "the majority" of its stores in China and Hong Kong due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The coronavirus is creating havoc to public life and economic markets across the globe, but its rapid growth in Iran has countries across the Gulf region becoming increasingly concerned. Multiple media outlets are reporting that the United Arab Emirates has called on residents to avoid cross-border travel and has imposed quarantine restrictions to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, a measure the Financial Times is calling it “a blow to the state’s position as a global business hub.”
The cautious optimism that had returned to the Antwerp diamond industry following the first month of 2020 was short-lived, as the explosive spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 in February effectively closed eastern markets and caused great uncertainty across the global diamond trade. Antwerp's rough-diamond trade still enjoyed the boost from the miners' strong January sales, but the warning signs appeared there as well - particularly toward the end of the month.
Retail sales across all products in Hong Kong took a major downturn in January 2020, falling by more than 21% and marking the12th consecutive month of falling sales. Earnings in the category jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts were hit the hardest, falling 42% year-on-year to US$632 million (HK$4.92 billion).
Until now, De Beers' laboratory-grown diamond jewelry brand Lightbox has issued no grading reports about its diamonds, enabling it to keep its pricing is straightforward ($800 a carat, $400 for a half carat, $200 for a quarter carat). De Beers says it approach the product in this way because man-made stones are mass-produced and do not deserve the individual attention that mined diamonds get.
The government of South Korea on December 27, 2019 agreed to eliminate its 5% import tax on loose polished diamonds, effectively opening up the South Korean market to new sources of polished diamonds. Yesterday, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) confirmed that Diamond has been designated as a specific good that will be exempted from customs duties pending completion of the final legislative approvals. The abolishment of the import tax is expected to go into effect on April 1.
Following the temporary closure of their stores in 'affected regions' of mainland China, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has temporarily closed around 40 stores in Hong Kong and Macao in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19 or nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus)) epidemic, a spokesperson said Monday. The Hong Kong-based jewelry chain operator also will shorten operating hours at its remaining stores in the two cities. These shops will close by 7 p.m. local time until further notice.
Coming off a strong holiday season, Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year as they continue to widen the range of those they’re buying for, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry, which 21 percent of Americans plan to give to their loved ones, friends and pets.
Tiffany & Co. shareholders voted in favor of the jeweler’s acquisition by LVMH during a meeting held on February 4 at its Fifth Avenue headquarters, the companies announced in separate press releases. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, announced on November 25, 2019 that it had reached an agreement to buy the jeweler Tiffany & Company in a $16.2 billion deal, the largest ever in the luxury sector. According to the agreement, LVMH will acquire Tiffany, the global luxury jeweler, for $135 per share in cash.
Hong Kong's retail sales of jewelry and luxury items limped to the end an abysmal 2019, with December 2019 sales falling nearly 37% short of December 2018 earnings, as the region closed the year more than 22% lower than the year prior. The impact of months of social unrest has been widely documented, as it crippled consumer sentiment and kept tourists away from the commercial hub.
In a wide-ranging keynote address at the African Mining Indaba taking place this week in Cape Town, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani laid out his vision for the mining industry and the steps it must take to "connect the future of mining with emerging and next-generation societal values. These are the values of increased transparency, responsible technological innovation, sustainability and shared prosperity, all of which are emergent in our world and are shaping a very different future society."
Swiss luxury jeweler de Grisogono, whose long-alleged history of shady deals with Angola was recently exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 36 media partners, has filed for bankruptcy in Geneva, according to multiple news outlets. The jeweler is owned in part by the husband of Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who is facing allegations of having pilfered Angolan state-owned companies. The company owes more than 1.4 million francs to its Swiss suppliers and is facing insolvency.
The United Kingdom has become one of a handful of nations to take proactive steps to protect diamond jewelry buyers from confusing sales labeling, thanks to a collaboration between the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and UK Trading Standards. The NAJ has announced a guide for correctly labeling different diamond jewelry types accepted by Trading Standards to stop customers feeling duped.
Richemont Group's sales in Q3 (the three month period ended 31 December 2019) increased by 4%, with growth in all regions except Japan, the luxury goods group announced last week. The Jewellery Maisons division recorded a 6% increase year-over-year at constant exchange rates versus the prior period and 9% at actual exchange rates. Sales in Europe during the period grew by 9% to €1.26 billion ($1.40 billion) benefiting from favourable comparative numbers and strong sales in most markets. European sales for the nine months of the fiscal year have risen 8% to €3.5 billion ($3.9).
Jewelry sales during the U.S. holiday season showed a modest increased compared to 2018, with higher-end independent jewelers performing particularly well, according to several surveys. Online buying surged, while foot traffic in retail stores slowed. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report shows that the jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength.
Chow Tai Fook, Hong Kong's leading diamond-jewelry retailer and the second largest jeweler in the world by market value after Tiffany & Co., intends to about 15 of its 86 stores in Hong Kong as anti-China protests in the city weigh on the retail market and deter tourists, according to multiple media outlets. Indications that it rather intends to focus on growing its presence in the mainland China market suggests the slump in retail sales is not about the reverse soon.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from De Beers Group, recently unveiled the first boutique in its Next Generation Retail Concept, located within renowned jewellery department store, Caibai in Beijing, the company writes. They say that the the newly renovated 100 square metre boutique "breaks away from the traditional across-the-counter service, inviting consumers to discover the world of Forevermark through an immersive, interactive and informative experience," adding that this is the first time Forevermark has offered this kind of consumer experience within one of its retail partners.
The Titan Company announced in its Q3 FY ’20 update that jewelry sales in December were were better than expected despite “the general economic slowdown in the economy leading to poor consumer sentimenthit." The company said its revenue growth was "possibly due to a good wedding season" and that the jewelry industry as a whole witnessed “reasonable growth” in the festive Diwali season this year. The company itself did better, the statement reads, while also gaining market share.
Retail sales in Hong Kong in general, and sales of luxury items and jewelry in particular, continued to fall sharply in November as local social unrest turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment, writes the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Tiffany & Co. announced on Thursday Dec. 26 that its overall global sales during the holiday shopping season (from November 1 through Christmas Eve) rose about 1% to 3% compared with the same period last year, with the largest contribution coming from China, Europe and a recovery in the Americas. Mainland China drove the business during the holiday period, with Tiffany seeing a double-digit sales increase there, offset by declines in Hong Kong.