Around Turkish 2,000 jewelry stores closed down last year as a result of falling jewelry spending due to limitations on the number of credit card payments allowed by the authorities and consumers' desire to spend on electronics and vacations, according to sector representatives cited by the Hurriyet national newspaper. “Our sector has seen a serious contraction," said Emil Güzeliş, the owner of Turkey’s leading jewelry exporter, Zen Pırlanta. "Some 2,000 of 26,000 jewelry stores were closed down last year.
Rapaport's "Weekly Market Comment", sums up the current mood of the diamond market as follows: "Polished prices [are] firm, market mood [is] much better and rough demand [is] improving due to polished shortages. Manufacturing [is] still at about 30% below capacity. We advise caution as current market prices are based on shortages created by artificial rough prices that are higher than resultant polished. Rough market volatility expected in 1H as miners reduce prices to increase revenue." Meanwhile, with the Chinese New Year right around the corner (Feb.
Vocalizing what many in the industry have been whispering in the corridors, jeweler and diamond industry blogger Mel Moss says that the current adversity facing the diamond industry - i.e., the miners and manufacturers - could serve as a catalyst for positive changes, provided a change of attitude. "These sectors need to realise that the diamond industry is a separate entity from the jewelry industry. The predominant attitude among diamantaires is that diamonds are the focus of all jewelry. The truth is that the diamond industry is dependent on the jewelry industry...not vise versa!
Jewelers in the United States have seen dramatic industry consolidation in recent years, particularly at the retail level, writes Rob Bates, while pointing out that the reason so many jewelers appear to be closing down compared to other sectors is that there are more independent jewelers than other type of independent retailer. "Still, when looked at in isolation, the figures are dramatic. In the third quarter, 200 jewelers closed—that’s two a day. Simply based on my Google News alerts, I believe we will see even more dramatic consolidation this quarter.
After posting a third successive year of declines in 2015, gold is pushing higher boosted by a host of troubles. Jewelry manufacturers will be keeping a close eye on developments as they seek to plan jewelry lines going forward. Gold bullion has been heading for the $1,100 an ounce level in recent days and rising to a two-month high after Chinese shares plunged, the yuan was devalued and the country’s stock exchanges closed early for the second time this week, spurring safe haven demand.
The American Gem Society (AGS) has created a U.S. advertising campaign aimed at raising consumer awareness of its work and to push traffic to its consumer-facing website, in particular its “Find a Jeweler” search feature. The campaign features ads targeting both men and women, with a tagline for the ads targeting men of: “Buy It With Confidence.” Ads targeting women will feature the tagline “Love What You See.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan takes a cold hard look at the diamond industry in 2015, citing the well known issue of inventory buildup throughout the pipeline, but emphasizing the miners' slow response - and only then after their hands were forced by sightholder refusals and even contempt. He writes, "[De Beers] started taking steps and initiatives in earnest only in the second half of the year. We could argue that 2015 was the year of carrying 2014 mistakes. Producers ignored the high inventories and continued to pump rough into the market.
Financial Times provides a clear overview of the year that was in the global diamond industry, from stagnation and falling revenues at the retail and mining ends, to downright suffering in the 'midstream' (manufacturing). The plight of the midstream is summed up as follows: “The raw [rough] diamond price is still high but the polishers [like us] have to sell cheaper because of the drop in demand,” said Chirag Kakadia of Sheetal, an Indian diamond polisher, speaking at a Hong Kong trade show. “We are forced to purchase higher but sell lower.
Suffice it to say that we disagree with the content of the Rapaport article. From a De Beers perspective, alongside the price adjustments we’ve made this year, we’ve taken a range of decisive action to help address the inventory indigestion issue in the midstream (which has been at the heart of the recent challenges) and to support demand pull-through. These actions include substantial additional supply flexibility for our customers, as well as a major additional Q4 marketing investment in the US and China, the world’s two leading diamond Jewellery markets.
In an article identifying the major story of 2015, Rapaport's Avi Krawitz says the re-introduction of generic – or category – marketing is the paramount development for the sector. "With the benefit of hindsight, one could say many of the trade’s grueling challenges could have been met more effectively had investment in category marketing continued to be made in the past decade. Instead, the trade found itself vulnerable to a slowdown in China, unsure about selling to millennials, and facing more prudent retail inventory management.
Next year is "unlikely to be an overly painful year for Hong Kong exporters," says the Hong Trade Kong Development Council in a forecast regarding business in 2016. There should be "a more stable - albeit still unspectacular - external trade environment pushing against unabated headwinds. With regard to jewelry, consumer appetite will again be impaired by the shift away from lavish consumption. Most shoppers, thanks to their caution, will likely stick to less pricey articles marked out by good quality and craftsmanship, rather than flashy brands.
The American economy increased at a 2% annual rate in the July to September quarter – slightly lower than previously reported, according to the government’s revised figures. More than six years into a recovery, the U.S. economy is expanding at a pace that is significantly lower than the historical norm. The official reduction to 2% from 2.1% previously was due to a larger trade deficit and a smaller buildup in inventories than earlier estimates showed.
China's rate of economic growth may be slipping and demand for diamonds in the world's second-largest diamond consumer declining with luxury sector sales falling, but Dior says it is still seeing strong consumer demand in the country, particularly for its most expensive categories, including jewelry, according to CEO Sidney Toledano. “We had years where we had super strong, double-digit growth,” said Toledano. “It is not double-digit now, but we are in line with our plans, and we are confident for the coming years. We have seen the top clients buying more in couture and fine jewelry.
Denis Perevezentsev, a Moody's VP - Senior Credit Officer and author of a new report, says that, "The latest drop in diamond prices, which are down about 28% from a peak in 2014, may be insufficient to revive demand and we think producers may have to cut prices further as supply and demand challenges continue into 2016.
Around a quarter (24%) of affluent consumers plan to give jewelry and watches as holiday gifts, in line with previous years, according to the annual Survey of Affluence and Wealth, conducted by YouGov in partnership with Time Inc. The survey found that jewelry purchases are largely driven by consumers in the top 1 percent of all incomes, defined as those with an income of $450,000 and more. Almost one-third (31%) plans to buy jewelry or a watch, versus 21% of the rest of the population. Meanwhile, 35% of millennials plan to buy jewelry or watches, versus 22% in other age groups.
The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, almost guaranteeing that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its meeting in the middle of this month for the first time in seven years. The jobs gains exceeded expectations, with economists surveyed by CNNMoney predicting there would be 192,000 new jobs. There is also evidence of wage growth in recent months, meaning consumers will have extra disposable income.
"If diamonds are forever, it’s not because they’re indestructible, but because our desire for them is." With engagement season in full swing "(surveys show that as many as 40 percent of all engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day)", Alix Strauss of The New York Times investigates the evolving nature of the marriage proposal.
I don’t think it will take much marketing to see a lot of those [smaller] goods flow into consumers’ hands...Generic marketing has slowed down, so diamonds are not on the forefront of people’s minds anymore, and therefore they default into [buying] other things. It’s really [about] targeting those people that will be spending up to $1,000 on a piece of jewelry, where that money’s now flowing somewhere else. How do we bring that money back to buying diamonds?
Jean-Marc Lieberherr, managing director of Rio Tinto Group’s diamond unit, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that the logjam of diamonds held by traders, cutters and polishers will clear by the middle of next year as rough prices decline, writes Thomas Biesheuvel. Lieberherr said that, “There is a need for the rough prices to adjust to the economic value of the polished price and that trend is in motion at the moment,” citing a disconnect between prices for rough diamonds and polished ones.
Diamantaire Melvin Moss tells the industry: "Stop promoting 50 percent discounts. Stop cutting your customers throats and start working with your customers for the long term health of diamonds. Retailers, it’s enough with the 70-80 percent off...you’re lying! You’re cheating your customers and doing permanent damage to everyone selling diamonds. Miners look to your bottom line 5 years from now and protect the future value of your diamonds. Cutters support your distributers and stop diminishing their profit with your downstream efforts.
In an interview with India's Business Standard, Gareth Mostyn says the past few quarters have been tough with demand growth slowing, the strength of the U.S. dollar hitting the market and many cutting and polishing centers facing a cash flow squeeze. However, the miner has responded by cutting production and increasing marketing stimulus. Inventory levels at cutting and polishing centers are high, but the firm sees a good opportunity for a pick-up in demand, without saying where from or why that should be the case.
Sales for previous months were revised, showing a lower rate of growth for September than previously reported. Jewelry and watch sales increased by 2 percent to $5.26 billion in September, down substantially from an earlier estimated rise of 4.8 percent. Meanwhile, sales for August were revised down slightly to $5.35 million from $5.38 billion.
Analytics company comScore forecasts a 14-percent rise on the year in November-December 2015 holiday season spending with total online retail spending of $70.1 billion. Mobile commerce is predicted to account for $11.7 billion of retail spending, representing 17 percent of total digital commerce and growing at a rate of 47 percent from last season. Meanwhile, spending via desktop computers is expected to reach $58.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year. In total, digital commerce is expected to account for about 15 percent of consumers’ discretionary spending.
In the last ten years, China’s share of global luxury spending went through the roof, rising from 3% to 30%, leading to overly optimistic growth and consumption projections, a report by the Demand Institute says. In China, the Financial Times reports, big brands are struggling, due to the current economic slowdown combined with a government crackdown on lavish spending and changing consumer preferences.
Russian diamond mining giant ALROSA reported that revenue increased by 17% on the year in the first nine months of 2015 despite a 20% drop on the year in sales. The firm said that that "the foreign exchange market environment contributed to strong 9M 2015 financial results" due to the weakness of the ruble. In the third quarter, revenue decreased by 29% from the previous quarter amid the diamond market slowdown due, the firm said, to ruble depreciation against the U.S. dollar and revaluation of U.S. dollar-denominated loans and borrowings.
In an interview with Mining Weekly Online addressing the current state of affairs and future outlook throughout the diamond industry, analyst and consultant Paul Zimnisky says he believes Canada was the best-positioned country in the industry given the quality of the current projects. “Looking at the NWT’s Ekati and Diavik mines, for instance, they are still quite profitable projects, even in a weaker price environment.
The miner has set the dates for its sales next year, with the first one taking place from January 18 to 22 which will give an indication of sightholder demand following the crucial holiday sales season and ahead of the Chinese New Year.
Britain posted a rise in sales of jewelry of 1.2 percent to an estimated £4.15 billion ($6.3 billion) in 2015 from £4.01 billion ($6.01 billion) in 2014, according to the annual Jewellery Retailing report by research firm Mintel. Precious metal jewelry sales were strong in 2014, rising almost 4 percent due to women self-purchasing more precious metal jewelry. According to the report 55 percent of women aged 16-24 buy precious metal jewelry for themselves, compared to 45 percent who buy costume jewelry for themselves.
JCK reports a WalletHub survey found that jewelry was the most heavily discounted category on Black Friday, as it was last year. The averaged (advertised) discount: 76 percent, up from last year’s 58 percent. Online colossus Amazon announced “up to 70 percent off” diamond jewelry on Black Friday, and retail giant Macy’s was "even offering 30 percent off engagement rings, an item that is not commonly marked down."
Mid-priced jewelry, which could also be termed affordable luxury, is all the rage right now, writes The Telegraph. "It sits exactly half-way along the food chain: it’s not the cheap-and-cheerful high-street offering, but nor is it the wildly expensive pieces to be found on Bond Street." Pieces are usually sterling silver, gold-plated or made from 9 carat or 14ct gold, and consequently maintain a low price point. Stones are semi-precious (moonstone, labradorite, quartz, topaz), synthetic or tiny, pavé-set diamonds.
Sarika Malhotra of Business Today takes an in-depth look at the highly depressed state of the Indian diamond manufacturing industry and analyzes what went wrong. If, as she writes, the global diamond trade does not seem to be collapsing, with global growth more or less stable after record sales in 2014, what landed India in crisis? The short answer is that manufacturers and banks alike greatly misjudged the market.
Total sales of fine jewelry and fine watches in the United States in September were up 4.8 percent on the year, making it the largest monthly gain in more than two years. Specialty jewelers are not seeing the benefits of the rise in sales, however, posting a 0.6 percent decline in sales, while multi-line retailers – mostly the discount chains – saw sales surge 8.5 percent.
JCK reports: The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has appointed Mother New York as its global strategic marketing partner. Mother New York will work with the DPA and recently appointed managing director of marketing Sally Morrison on a new campaign that will make diamonds relevant to the next generation, a statement said.
Luk Fook Holdings (International) Ltd said profit in the first half of this year is likely to have dropped by as much as 40 percent as revenues and margins fell. Just last week, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd said its April-September fiscal half-year profit could have halved due to lower sales in Hong Kong and Macau. Retail sales in Hong Kong fell in September for a seventh straight month due to falling numbers of tourists from mainland China and weak consumer sentiment worsened by a volatile stock market during the summer.
Sales at U.S. specialty jewelry stores were little changed on the year in September, according to figures published by the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed a decline of 0.6 percent to $2 billion. On an adjusted basis taking into account seasonal fluctuations, sales dropped 0.5 percent to $2.5 billion, Rapaport reports. For the first nine months of this year, there was a decline of 1.6 percent to $20 billion, with the seasonally adjusted sales showing the same level of decline to $22.8 billion.
The World Gold Council's (WGC) Gold Demand Trends report shows demand for gold jewelry climbed 6 percent on the year in the third quarter of 2015 to 632 tons from 594 tons in the year-earlier quarter. Buyers in India, China, the United States and the Middle East bought more gold as the price of the yellow metal declined in July and August, the WGC said in its report.
The e-commerce colossus easily beat last year’s $9.3 billion sales figure and exceeded the expectations of analysts who said the sales figure showed the resilience of Chinese consumers despite the slowing economy. The Chinese firm reported that sales on its platforms for China’s Singles’ Day hit $14.3 billion by the end of Wednesday, exceeding last year’s 24-hour total of $9.3 billion in just over half the time.
Diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky has published a thorough "State of the Diamond Mining Industry" report as we near the end of 2015 - essential reading, in our opinion. "So far in 2015", writes Zimnisky, "the state of the global has been closely aligned with the posture of the global economy, as it so often is, and should be. The developed nations of the world are growing, but at uninspiring rates... Emerging market growth has slowed... The result in the diamond industry has been an overhang of low-to-medium-quality polished diamonds in the market for about a year now. U.S.
According to Bain & Company's 2015 "Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study", the overall luxury industry surpassed €1 trillion in retail sales value in 2015. Meanwhile, aided by global currency fluctuations and continued jet-setting of "borderless consumers," the personal luxury goods market, including jewelry, ballooned to €253 billion. This represents 13% growth at current exchange rates, while real growth slowed significantly to 1-2%.
The global market for personal luxury goods is heading for its weakest year since 2009 as a combination of stock market turmoil, a strong dollar and a commodity-price rout curb demand. According to consulting firm Bain & Co., luxury goods sales will rise as little as 1% to 253 billion euros ($280 billion) in 2015. Jewelry, however, is expected to be the exception to this trend. Bloomberg writes that, "Bain expects jewelry to be 2015’s best-performing category, rising 6%, contrasting with a slump in watch sales caused by weakness in Asia.