In honour of Chinese New Year, Harry Winston has announced its new Premier Monkey Automatic ladies’ timepiece - this watch will be a limited edition of only eight pieces.
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.
Tresor Paris has selected six white diamonds to be placed inside a set of hand-crafted crackers on sale for $1.5 million through luxury launches website VeryFirstTo.com. The six diamonds chosen by Tresor Paris were selected for their distinctive different cuts, and include: 3.00ct, oval, E-VS1; 3.00ct, princess, F-VS1; 3.50ct, step-cut, F-VS1; 2.50ct, round, E-VS2; 4.00ct, marquise, D-VS2, and 3.00ct, pear, D-VVS2 type IIA. The cost of the crackers includes each diamond being set by Tresor Paris in a classic designed item of jewelry.
Japan has emerged as a key locale for Chinese traveler-driven sales growth in 2015, as mainland China’s luxury consumers shift their spending away from once-favorite shopping destination Hong Kong. Hermès reported recently that Japan was the source of its highest sales growth rate globally in the third quarter with a 16.6% increase. In contrast, its Asia-Pacific sales excluding Japan declined 1.5%, which the brand said was thanks in large part to a continued retail slump in Hong Kong and Macau.
Luxury diamond jeweler, Graff Diamonds, is opening an expanded presence within The Fine Jewellery Room at up-scale Harrods in London in an indication of the success of its sales of expensive diamond jewelry. The new store will enable it to showcase more of its fine and rare jewels. Graff CEO Francois Graff said: “Following the resounding success since its launch last year, the Graff store in Harrods has become an important location in London for the company portfolio, increasing our brand footprint.”
Jewelry and watch retailers, as well as brand owners, must cooperate to make the mining sector that supplies the materials on which they depend more transparent and responsible. Consumer sentiment is changing on these issues, and the point of sale is where our industry feels most sharply the new public awareness.
The rush by luxury brands to open new retail operations is declining as the firms come to terms with the saturation of the Chinese marketplace, according to a new report. According to CBRE’s recently published The Future of Luxury Retail in Asia Pacific, Asia is still critical for the global luxury market with Chinese consumers driving the bulk of sales both inside and outside China. The region accounted for a third of all personal luxury goods sales in 2014, with China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan the leading markets.
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.
Rapaport writer Avi Kravitz discusses the marketing campaigns of De Beers and Signet, as well as the work of the Diamond Producers Association, as the diamond trade realizes that generic marketing of diamond jewelry is critical.
Tiffany and Cartier jewelry brands enjoy the greatest awareness among affluent consumers, according to the new Millionaire Monitor, the 27th tracking study of the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households by the American Affluence Research Center (AARC). Tiffany and Cartier earned 98% awareness, while four other brands scored above 95% (Chanel, Kay, Zales, and Jared), while Graff and Buccellati were recognized by approximately 20%. Prior purchases of the brands ranged from a low of zero for Graff to a high of 50% for Tiffany.
Polar Bear Diamonds, fomerly the most recognizable diamond brand in Canada with its iconic trademark - a laser engraved, microscopic polar bear to symbolize Canadian and conflict-free - was first launched in the late 1990s but was discontinued in 2010 after the two companies that were given permission to use it went into receivership. EDGE writer Jack Danylchuk details the attempt by Deepak Kumar, owner of Deepak International Ltd., to save the brand from extinction, and how this attempt failed despite the full confidence and support of the N.W.T.
In order to understand how Millennials consume, one should understand their relationship to affluence, and when it comes to luxury items, the message is not "I'm worth it", but "I earned it". According to Leah Swartz of FutureCast, the Millennial generation is flipping the definition of affluence upside-down.
"Do consumers think that diamonds are really rare? No. The quicker we understand this, the faster the market for diamonds will recover," explains diamond jewelry veteran Ayalla Joseph. "Then why do women still love diamonds? Why has the slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ captured the hearts and wallets of millions? We know they are so not rare. So what is it? The answer lies in the fact that they have no function whatsoever other than to prove a man’s love or a woman’s worth. It really is that simple."
Despite the current slowdown in the Chinese economy, the country's tourist numbers are forecast to rise to 242 million by 2024, more than double last year’s number of 116 million. Meanwhile, spending by Chinese travelers will also more than double – to $422 billion by 2020 from an estimated $200 billion this year. Sales to Chinese, both in China and abroad, are a vital share of luxury brands' sales.
A survey by MasterCard shows that millennials (people aged roughly 18-29) in China are the biggest purchasers of luxury goods in Asia Pacific, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong. And they plan to spend close to double the Asia Pacific average on luxury goods in the next year. Jewelry spending come second on their purchase lists at 17 percent, with the most popular luxury items being high-end tech gadgets with 25 percent of spending.
China and India led the way in the growth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014 and their wealth is expected to grow 10% annually, according to the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2015 published by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. The population of HNWIs, people with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables, in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 8.5% in 2014 to 4.7 million people, an increase of one million over two years.
Strong sales in Europe and Japan helped luxury goods giant Richemont offset ongoing weakness in Asia for its jewelry and high-end watches. Among its units is Cartier. The firm reported that sales in the five months to the end of August jumped by 16%, aided by the lower value of the euro which made sales outside the eurozone worth more when converted into Richemont’s reporting currency.
Unlike the laundromat, aspirin and the Murphy bed, "Tiffany" is not (yet) a generic product, thanks to last week's ruling that US wholesale giant Costco committed trademark infringement by labeling its engagement rings as "Tiffany". Costco claimed in a countersuit that "Tiffany setting" is a generic term for any ring with prongs extending upward from a base to hold a single gemstone, but the court rejected this argument.
The surging Swiss franc and weakness in a number of key markets - particularly Asia, where demand has faltered in China and Japan, and collapsed in Hong Kong - is taking its toll on Swiss watchmakers. Other markets have also proved difficult: a stumbling rouble has hit Russian demand, and sales in the UAE, an increasingly important market, have declined.
The timepiece features 438 Brilliant cut stones set in the 18K white gold case and buckle, and 136 on the white gold dial. Meanwhile, a blue cabochon sapphire is set in the crown of the watch.
Things have been increasingly blurry in the luxury sector ever since ecommerce made its debut. Reluctant to embrace this new sales channel, many luxury brands were quickly overtaken by businesses such as Net-A-Porter, Uber, Tesla and Apple, copanies that offer convenience and seamlessness of service and the range and diversity of products unseen in the luxury market. Consumers, spoiled by the speed and efficiency provided by startups, started to expect the same thing from the established luxury brands. Luxury brands responded half-heartedly, at best.
Britain's benchmark share index fell on Tuesday, hit by stock price falls for mining companies and luxury firm Burberry after China devalued the yuan, raising the costs of imports. China devalued the yuan after a run of poor economic data. Burberry was the top faller in early trading, losing 2.2%. "A weaker yuan makes imports more expensive and with China accounting for some 14% of the company's sales, the implication is clear," said analyst Tony Cross. Mining groups BHP Billiton, Glencore, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto were down 1.5 to 2.1%.
Luxury brand and other high-ticket retailers in Hong Kong suffering from slower sales, and paying among the highest retail rents in the world, are shutting down some of their outlets. Jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., Burberry Group Plc, and Kering SA are pushing landlords to lower rents on existing properties as luxury brands scale back. TAG Heuer closed its store in Russell Street last week due to high rent and falling sales.
Luxury goods manufacturer Kering, a French conglomerate that includes Gucci and Bottega Veneta, has gone to court against Alibaba. Kering alleges that Alibaba helps fakers sell goods on its websites. The French firm is not the only one to be incensed. Alibaba insists it has extensive measures in place to crack down on counterfeits, and a bitter trial looks likely. The fight against copycats has been long and arduous. Kering’s suit is the industry’s most important in a decade—Alibaba has more than 1 billion product listings and aspires to reach consumers around the world.
Colombia is hosting an inaugural International Emerald Symposium from October 13 to 15 in Bogotá. The conference is organized by Fedesmeraldas, the Colombian Emerald Federation, and supported by all the country's emerald-related bodies and the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The conference aims to address the challenges and opportunities faced by the emerald industry including resource management, manufacturing, treatments, certification, nomenclature, consumer education and branding, say the organizers.
Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company is adding smart jewelry coverage to its list of insurance services. It says it is the first jewelry insurer to add such coverage. Jewelers Mutual covers various brands and styles of smart jewelry including products by Apple, Bulgari, Cuff, Fredrique Constant, MICA (by Intel), Ringly, Swarovski, and TAG Heuer.
The insurance coverage provides worldwide protection against theft, damage, loss and even simple disappearance of the item.
Anti-China and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year led store owners to close and mainland tour groups to cancel bookings. In addition, China's slowing economy and President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption and austerity campaigns have made Chinese shoppers reluctant to splash out.
The miner's diamond jewelry brand is to go on sale at high-profile jewelry retailers. Forevermark's sales last year were in excess of $750 million and is available in 1,600 stores in 34 countries/markets. The brand was initially launched in Hong Kong in 2004, and has since been rolled out in a wide range of countries.
The luxury jeweler has opened its first retail salon in Macau, aimed at boosting its presence in Greater China. Located in the prestigious Galaxy Macau, it will offer the firm's finest jewelry and watch collections.
The timing, however, may be unfortunate, given China's declining economic growth, a fall in the number of Chinese tourists and the country's anti-corruption crackdown which has led to a sharp drop in sales of luxury goods.
Luxury hotels, department stores, and restaurants are always pushing the limits of grandeur to impress their customers. And what could make a hotel or restaurant look more lavish than a drink or suite package that comes with a real diamond? Even if the $10,000 martini with bling at the bottom doesn’t sell very well, it certainly generates press and adds splendor to a cocktail menu. What is the marketing advantage of these extravagant package deals?
Chinese demand for luxury goods is slowing, particularly in light of the government's anti-corruption crackdown putting the brakes on luxury gifting as a form of bribery, but that does not necessarily mean that the desire for (European) luxury goods is waning.
Research by the Luxury Institute Sales finds that sales associates have a big impact on wealthy shoppers' jewelry-buying decisions. It also revealed that most wealthy consumers do not buy luxury goods following research, although there are exceptions, such as men shopping for watches and women buying beauty products.
Ichiro Uchihara, CEO of Uchihara Group, a Japanese jewelry wholesaler and retailer catering to high-end consumers, spoke with Rapaport News about the company’s strategy and efforts to expand its brand equity in Japan, Asia and internationally. A few key quotes:
Increasing numbers of wealthy American shoppers are plumping for low-key and logo-free items. They are looking for unique, hard-to-find items rather than highly recognizable handbags from big-name brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada. And the trend toward more discreet luxury goods is also partly a result of the political debate about income inequality which is persuading some big spenders that it is distasteful "to carry a purse that practically announces its four-figure price tag."
Companies from China and Hong Kong posted the fastest growth in luxury sales in 2013, according to the 2015 Global Powers of Luxury Goods report by global business consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd was among the top five biggest luxury brands in 2013, beating many European and US concerns.
Global Power of Luxury Goods 2015, the consulting firm's second annual such study, identifies the 100 largest luxury goods companies around the world, and finds that total net luxury goods sales of the top 100 firms stood at US$ 214.2 billion in 2013. This translates to an average of about $2.1 billion of luxury goods sales for these firms with composite year-on-year growth of 8.2% while composite net profit margin stood at 10.3% and composite return on assets stood at 8.6%.
Having acquired the Hearts on Fire (HoF) luxury diamond brand in June 2014 for $150 million as part of the jeweler’s strategy to expand its high-end product range, Chow Tai Fook (CTF) is gearing up to launch a new HoF campaign in September.
Johann Rupert, the billionaire founder and chairman of luxury goods group Richemont, believes tension between the rich and poor is set to escalate as robots and artificial intelligence put people out of work and the rich become even more wealthy. “We cannot have 0.1 percent of 0.1 percent taking all the spoils,” said Rupert, who has a fortune worth $7.5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s unfair and it is not sustainable.”
Johann Rupert, the chairman and CEO of luxury goods firm Richemont, has invited counterparts, LVMH and Kering, to create a new online luxury retail store to compete with Amazon. Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Luxury event in Monte Carlo, Rupert said that he had spoken to Bernard Arnault CEO at LVMH, whose brands include De Beers Jewelers and Bvlgari, and Kering which owns Gucci, about investing in the newly combined Yoox/Net-a-Porter online fashion retailer. Among the brands belonging to Richemont are Cartier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef & Arpels.
There is apparently another side to Chopard, jeweler and watchmaker for the stars, as behind all the glitter and glamor lurks a commitment to sustainability and a determination to manufacture in the most ethical way possible. In 2013 they forged a philanthropic alliance with Eco-Age and the Alliance for Responsible Mining, becoming the first watch and luxury jewelry to help gold mining communities gain "Fairmined" certification.