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.
In Sotheby's single-lot live auction in Hong Kong, the pear-shaped, 101.38-carat, D-color diamond known as "The Key 10138" sold for US$12.3 million. The sale marks an industry-wide breakthrough, making the price achieved for this diamond the highest for any jewelry or gemstone purchased with cryptocurrency. The buyer was a private collector.
2020 proved to be quite a challenge with regards to hosting in-person trade fairs, and although online alternatives accelerated the digital revolution within the industry, there is no doubt that in-person viewing and buying is still very much the norm.
HKTC announced today that due to continued restrictions on international travel, the organizers have decided to postpone the HK March shows, The HK International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show (1-5 March) and HK International Jewellery Show (3-7 March) are rescheduled to 2-6 July 2021, at AsiaWorld-Expo.
ABN AMRO, the Dutch bank, is closing its Hong Kong diamond business as part of a global trimming of the bank's operations, predominantly outside of Europe. In 2018, ABN AMRO already shut down its US and Dubai diamond operations. A few months ago, the bank reported a net loss of 395 million euros, the first loss in years, and announced it would be reviewing its strategy.
Chinese retailer Luk Fook has announced a 71% drop in sales in the first fiscal quarter, with largest same-store sales declines in Hong Kong and Macau (76%). Of the company's self-operated stores, a large proportion is located in Hong Kong and Macau (60) compared to the amount of shops in Mainland China and other locations (118). Hong Kong, a popular destination for luxury shopping tourists, has been under continued restrictions, such as a compulsory 14-day quarantine, as wel as renewed outbursts of civil unrest.
In a recent update on the website of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, published Wednesday July 22, COVID-19 restrictions for foreigners traveling to Hong Kong have been prolonged to the end of the year, Dec 31st and are likely to remain in place until that date, considering across the globe, including in Hong Kong, the number of cases has been rising in the past weeks.
According to market sources, INFORMA MARKETS (IM) will be announcing the postponement of the mother of all trade fairs, commonly known as Hong Kong September, to November shortly. However, many believe the postponement is just putting off the evil hour of a cancellation.
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."
The organizer of the BaselWorld show, the MCH Group, has announced they are cancelling the 2021 edition of the show - slated for end of January beginning of February next year after negotiating an "amicable settlement" with some of the major brands who recently announced their departure from the show.
The value of Hong Kong's total exports of goods during the first quarter of 2020 declined by 9.7% over the same period in 2019, with exports of jewelry ("miscellaneous manufactured articles (mainly jewelry, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares)") falling by $10.5 billion or -20.4%, according to the government's Census and Statistics Department. In March alone, year-on-year the jewelry category declined by $3.7 billion or -20.8% compared to a 5.8% decline in the value of total exports of goods decreased from the special administrative region.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) earlier this week announced the new dates for the twin trade fairs in Hong Kong: 3-6 August 2020. The HKTDC Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2020 and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2020 were previously scheduled to run concurrently from 18 to 21 May, but were postponed following the goverment's announcement of a quarantine for all travellers arriving from outside China.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) yesterday, 23 March 2020 announced the suspension of preparations for its upcoming trade shows following the goverment's announcement of a quarantine for all travellers arriving from outside China. It cannot host an international show under these conditions.
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).
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.
Concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the diamond and jewelry trade is growing, not only in China, but also in the markets that supply China, like Hong Kong and India. Events have been concelled, retail sales have plummeted and the outbreak of the virus in China has already had a ripple effect on diamond supply chains as the death toll passes 1,000. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa has decided to relocate its March auctions for rough and polished diamonds from Hong Kong to other trading centers. The move follows the decision of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to reschedule the Hong Kong trade shows from March until May in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
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.
The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show scheduled for March 2-6 and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (March 4-8) have been postponed until May 18-21, 2020 for precautionary reasons due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
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.
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.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co fell short of investor expectations for profit and sales during the third quarter ended Oct. 31 2019, as weak demand in the U.S. and retail disruption in Hong Kong offset growth elsewhere in China. Tiffany's business in the Americas and Europe has struggled to generate growth in recent years as price-conscious younger customers gravitate to lower-priced competitors like Signet Jewelers - which last week released “better-than-expected” results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.
A significant decline in Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong in October put a dent in the otherwise positive month, as several of the leading markets recorded strong growth. According to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Swiss watch exports passed the 2 billion francs (CHF2.03 billion/USD$2.04 billion) representing 1.5% growth compared to the same month last year.
Hong Kong’s retail sales, and particulaly those of jewelry and other luxury items, took a nosedive in September as the protests that have plagued the city since June have kept tourists away and led to a decline in consumer spending. According to a press release and figures from the Census and Statistics Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the overall value of retail sales in September 2019 decreased by 18.3% to an estimated HKD29.9 billion (US$3.8 billion) compared with the same month in 2018.
In the third quarter of 2019, Israel's imports and exports of all diamonds plummeted 28% compared to the same time last year, writes the Times of Israel following Ynet (Hebrew-language publication). Since the start of 2019, Israel’s diamond industry has seen a 22 percent drop in exports of polished diamonds, which Israeli spokespeople say is likely due to the global economic slowdown and international trade concerns.
Last week, Tiffany & Co. found itself at the center of a social media firestorm after posting an image on Twitter of a woman covering one eye with her hand, leading to accusations that the jeweller supports the Hong Kong protesters and prompting Tiffany's to remove the post. Angry Chinese consumers believed it deliberately evoked a symbolic pose adopted by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators after a woman was shot in the eye with what protesters say was a police beanbag round during violent clashes with police. Her image later popped up in many posters and memes.
Rare and exceptional fancy color diamonds, as well as a large flawless emerald diamond will be in the spotlight at this autumn’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong. The October 7 sale presents three very remarkable stones: a superb 10.64-carat fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond of internally flawless clarity estimated at $19.1 million to $25.5 million, an important 6.01-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, and a magnificent 80.88-carat D-color, flawless diamond.
International diamond brokerage firm Bonas will hold its fourth colored gemstone tender at the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel from Saturday 14 to Wednesday 18 September 2019 to coincide with the September Hong Kong gem and jewelry show. Bonas will tender "the most extraordinary gemstones" to retailers and wholesalers looking for special pieces to add to their collection. This September’s tender will feature 460 examples of precious coloued gemstones. Unlike traditional auctions, tenders have no listed selling price, nor extra fees such as the buyer's premium.
The organizers of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair wrote a letter on Thursday to the three diamond trade organizations calling for the postponement of the fair, saying that the September show will be held as scheduled and reassuring them that "there are positive signs indicating that the situation is cooling down." In that regard, they may have spoken too soon, as
Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa will host its second annual True Colors auction of natural color diamonds in September at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair from 16 to 20 September. The auction will last until September 23.
Three leading diamond trade bodies have submitted a joint appeal for the postponement of the Hong Kong Gem and Jewellery Fair, September 2019, until there is a more stable climate in the city.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (CTF) has reported higher sales and continuing expansion of their POS (points of sale) during Q1 FY 2020 (three months ended 30 June 2019), as sales in mainland China stores continued to grow at a strong rate while those in Hong Kong and Macau declined for the second time in the past three quarters. Retail sales grew by 24% in mainland China during the period, with same-store sales (SSS) improving by 11%, the jeweler reported. Retail revenues in Hong Kong and Macau fell by 6%, while SSS dropped further, down 11%.
The impact from the Hong Kong protests is spreading to global luxury retailers, with jewelry - including Swiss watches - taking a hit as shoppers and big-spending travelers stay away. Unrest has forced many stores to close and sparked widespread social disruption. Luxury brand Richemont - which owns several of the world's leading luxury goods companies including Cartier, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and Jaeger-LeCoultre - is the latest firm to say its business is being impacted by the ongoing protests.
Hong Kong’s retail sales are expected to decline by 5 percent to HK$460 billion (US$59 billion) for the full year, dragged down by economic uncertainty, social unrest and a decline in mainland Chinese tourists, according to international advisory firm PriceWaterCoopers (PwC). The estimate is a downgrade from its earlier forecast of a 3 percent drop in sales, reflecting a weaker outlook, as government statistics showed first-quarter retail sales falling 2 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 report,
The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair last week (20-23 June) provided a snapshot of a cautious diamond industry in the midst of a period of weak sentiment and even weaker demand, according to several traders we spoke with this week. And they do not see any quick fixes on the horizon. While it may not be the largest diamond show of the year, Hong-Kong June is the most important mid-year jewelry sourcing event in Asia, and as such provides us the opportunity to take the pulse of the polished diamond trade. The consensus? Sentiment is poor.
‘Wait and see’
Hong Kong based jewelry retail and bellwether for the Chinese market Chow Tai Fook Group (CTF) has announced that its sales grew 13% to $8.5 billion (HK$66,661 million) for the year ending March 31 (FY2019), citing increased purchases of gold jewelry and an expansion of the company’s retail network in China. Retail sales in Mainland China rose by 8% to $3.88 billion, while revenue from Hong Kong and Macau increased 12% to $2.94 billion.
Leading Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook is expanding in North America, this week announcing the establishment of a "business hub" in Boston to supply products and services - jewelry and technology - on a wholesale basis to US retailers. Chow Tai Fook North America (CTFNA) says it "will offer customized, specialty collections in the diamond and fine jewelry segments, as well as private label offerings, to address the evolving needs of jewelry consumers." CTFNA, which owns diamond jewelry brands Hearts on Fire and Mémoire, recently moved Hearts On Fire President Caryl Capeci into the role of
Hong Kong’s retail sales of jewelry, watches and other valuables in January 2019 were up 4.7% year-on-year after falling by 5% in December, according to statistics released by the HK government, as increased tourism from the Mainland and early Lunar New Year shopping lifted overall retail sales. The Hong Kong Tourism Board reported that January tourist arrivals rose to 6.78 million, up 27% from January last year, with the number of visitors from the Mainland - good for more than 80% of the total visitors - increasing by 35%.
One of the bellwether jewelry brands and the largest jeweler in China, Chow Tai Fook, has reported that same-store-sales of gem-set jewelry in Q4 2018 declined by 5% in mainland China and 8% in Hong Kong and Macau “amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment.” This marks the first quarterly decline in two years for the company despite China’s lowering of its jewelry import tax by an average of 20.7 percent last summer, which was expected to bolster sales.
The 24-carat pear-shaped, fancy yellow Moon of Baroda diamond famed for its association with Marilyn Monroe sold for $1.3 million at the Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auction on Tuesday, easily beating estimates of $500,000 to $750,000.