With 850 million active users monthly, western luxury brands have been quick to embrace China’s “most important platform for luxury brands”, WeChat. Local and international brands have realised the potential of the platform to make them key players in China’s $103 billion jewelry market. Western companies have used it for flash sales as well as marketing and customer interaction. While these flash events have spurred sales, China’s online sales remain limited, says Antoine Pin, managing director of Bulgari in greater China.
"The organizers of Baselworld, the world’s largest watch and jewelry fair, have recognized that it is in a state of decline," writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. "At a time when the fair has reached the milestone of 100 years, fair organizers announced that they are reducing the 2018 edition by two days and cutting prices for exhibitors, following several years of exhibitor and attendance declines." The organization announced in a press release that visitor figures were down 4% to 106,000 buyers.
Organizers of the CARAT+ "Diamond Event" trade show to be held in Antwerp from May 7 - 9 have announced an agreement with "Bond Girl" Caterina Murino (Casino Royale, 2006) to be a guest of honor, and has announced an exclusive media partnership with The Rapaport Group. Murino, playing the sultry Solange Dimitrios, became the 71st member of one of the most celebrated and exclusive clubs in movie history, known as "the Bond Girls".
At the 2017 Geneva motor show Rolls-Royce will be presenting its most brilliant car to date. The Rolls-Royce Ghost Elegance is mechanically identical to the Ghost, the only difference being the paint which includes a powder originating from 1,000 ethically-sourced diamonds.
The price of the exclusive Rolls-Royce was not announced, however it will likely be a tad over the US$274,050 (£223,368) base price for a Ghost.
Forevermark, the diamond brand from the De Beers Group of Companies, has expanded to 2,000 retail outlets globally with the intention of expanding by an additional 10% this year, said CEO Stephen Lussier. The opening of the 2,000th Forevermark outlet, the Zen Diamond Anatolium store in the city of Bursa in Turkey, was followed by an announcement of a strong 2016. The brand spent US$85 million on consumer-facing marketing activities in 2016 to help stimulate global demand for diamond jewelry.
Russian mining giant ALROSA is stepping up its marketing game beyond its contributions to the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), we were told this past Wednesday at ALROSA Night - a joint initiative between the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and ALROSA at the Belgian Ambassador's Residence in Moscow.
Luxury brands are eager to cater to the desires of men as, “men are wearing more and more jewelry,” says Caroline Gaspard, founder of Akillis, a French-based jewelry brand which specializes in unisex jewelry. “The barriers are falling, and younger men are confident in expressing their own look.” Although the jewelry industry is still very much female-centric, brands are making headway by catering to men who are more fashion-forward and not afraid of expressing their individuality through jewelry.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded a 5% increase in revenue, reaching $40.08 billion (€37.6 billion). With an organic revenue growth of 8%, Q4 saw an acceleration compared to earlier in the year. Europe, the Unites States and Asia, excluding Japan, remain well positioned and continued to show significant improvement. This slower demand in Japan and France was likely due to the continued decline in the number of tourists. The strongest performers included fashion and leather goods (+34%) and wine (+13%).
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
"As consumer expectations lean increasingly toward transparency, a brand’s dedication to sustainable business practices is more important than ever before," write Jen King for Luxury Daily in her report on the “Sustainability is the New Black: Consumers Expect Ethical Transparency” session at Luxury FirstLook: Time for Luxury 2.0 on Jan. 18. She writes, "Panelists from the jewelry, spirits and hospitality sectors discussed how their businesses approach corporate social responsibility.
An armed man walked into a Harry Winston jewelery shop in Cannes without opening fire, before walking away with €15 million ($16M) in diamonds. A man in his thirties showed up at the store on January 18 at the store on the city's famed Croisette waterfront promenade and initially passed himself off as a customer. "He asked to see diamond ornaments on behalf of a sponsor. The saleswoman was suspicious and gave him a catalogue," the prosecutor said. His face uncovered, hidden only behind sunglasses.
Birks, a group that operates 46 luxury stores in Canada, Florida and Georgia reported an 11% sales increase this holiday season. In the U.S. sales increased by 16% whereas in Canada sales grew by 3% compared to the previous holiday season. The growth in sales was the result of the company’s success in growing its average sales transactions and conversion rates, reflecting the success of the company’s long-term sales growth strategies.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, just shared their trading update for the third quarter ended December 31 2016, reporting an overall 5% uptick at constant exchange rates to $3,292.5 million and a 6% rise at actual exchange rates. In Europe, sales increased by 3% in the third quarter, in contrast with the 17% decline registered in the first six months of the year. The report suggests the increase was primarily due to local sales and tourist purchases in the United Kingdom as well as strong jewelry sales across the region.
Italian private equity firm Clessidra said it has agreed to sell an 85 percent stake in high-end jeweller Buccellati to Chinese conglomerate Gangtai Group, according to Forbes. The Buccellati family, who in 1919 founded the jeweler famous for its ornate, lace-like creations, will retain a 15 percent stake. A source familiar with the deal said the acquisition gave Buccellati an enterprise value of 270 million euros ($282 million) or 6.6 times its revenues.
The Timex Group Swiss Luxury Division - which manages the watch business for luxury fashion brands Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus and Nautica through licensing agreements - is the latest company to leave the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. According to Paolo Marai, president and CEO of the division of the Timex Group, the money the company spends participating in Baselworld - $3 million - could be better spent elsewhere. “I think that Baselworld is a huge investment for everybody and is in my opinion losing some effectiveness,” he said.
Rare Diamond House – Antwerp (RDH) holds the world’s largest selection of investment grade D Flawless diamonds of 10 carats and up. Since 2008, RDH has been involved in buying, selling or valuing the majority of diamonds of this caliber that have appeared at auction.
In her recent article for Bloomberg, "Happy Couples Don't Buy Diamonds Online the Way They Used To," Polly Mosendz analyzes the changing landscape for diamond engagement rings - and in particular the online sales thereof. She notes firstly the trend for diamond rings to change hands online in way they never did previously, resulting in tremendous growth in the second-hand market.
According to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Chinese Consumer in 2030” (paywall) released this week, 35 percent of China’s population is predicted to be “upper-middle class” or above by 2030, reports Jing Daily. EIU's summary introducing the report states, "The traditional drivers of China’s economy, investment and exports, are struggling, but the country’s consumers keep spending.
Jing Daily writes that according to Bain & Company’s annual industry "Bain Luxury Study" report, 2016 marks the first time in history that Chinese consumers contributed less to global luxury sales than they did the year before, despite China’s luxury market growth re-emerging into positive territory after two years of recession.
The weakening of the yuan against the Hong Kong dollar is making life even more difficult for the city’s retailers, with brands forced to raise prices of local goods for mainland visitors to offset the yuan's fall amid an already weak tourism industry, writes the South China Morning Post.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded a 4% increase in revenue, reaching $29 billion (€26.3 billion), for the first nine months of 2016, the group announced in a press release. Organic revenue grew 5% compared to the same period in 2015. With organic revenue growth of 6%, Q3 saw an acceleration compared to the first half of the year. Asia showed a significant improvement during the quarter. The United States remains well positioned, as does Europe.
Earlier this week, Michelle Graff of National Jeweler reported that Tiffany's had been awarded $5.5 million in their legal dispute with Costco. A New York jury has now ruled that wholesale merchandiser Costco must pay them an additional $8.25 million, potentially bringing the total to $13.75 million pending the judges verdict.
With its industry overview announcing that, "Exports of Swiss watches fell in the first half of 2016 to CHF 9.5 billion ($9.8bn) from CHF 10.2 billion ($10.5bn) in 2015. This is the lowest level since 2011. In July and August the decline continued.
Richemont, which owns the Cartier jewelry and watches maison among other units in the luxury sector, issued a profit warning on Wednesday after recording a drop in sales. The results reflected the challenges luxury goods companies face from weaker demand in Asia and a decline in tourism in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported. Geneva-based Richemont said sales fell 14% for the five months through August from the previous year at actual exchange rates. At constant exchange rates, sales declined 13%.
In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, has provided a view of the state of the luxury goods market with its results for the first half of 2016, with revenue up 3% to €17.2 billion. The financial results were in line with analysts' estimates. Organic revenue growth was 4% compared to the same period in 2015. The American market is dynamic, while Europe remains on track, with the exception of France, which has been affected by a decrease in tourism. Meanwhile, Asia improved steadily during the period, the firm said in a statement.
Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co. is gathering famous faces in a campaign using the tagline 'Some style is legendary'. Included in the campaign are Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, actress Elle Fanning, model/activist Christy Turlington-Burns and model Natalie Westling. The campaign is being directed by Grace Coddington, the former creative director, and now creative director-at-large, of Vogue magazine.
A matte white Diamond Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware was sold for $300,168 (HK$2.33M) by auction house Christie's for a private Asian collector, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold. Described as a piece of "fashion history": "The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya," Christie's said in a press release prior to the sale.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. is aiming to boost sales of wristwatches due to a slowdown in the jewelry market. Tiffany-made watches could account for 10 percent of the company’s sales within a decade, according to Nicola Andreatta, head of the firm's timepiece business, from just 1 percent last year. If it succeeds in hitting that target, it would likely make Tiffany one of the world’s top 10 watch brands, he told Bloomberg.
Luxury end diamonds are taking a hit from lower demand globally, with Graff Diamonds reporting a drop in sales and profits last year as tougher market conditions in the worldwide gem industry hit the high-end jeweler. Revenue plunged 32 percent to $500 million, while profit dropped 74 percent to $32 million in 2015, Graff Diamonds said in a filing to the UK’s Companies House, a registrar for businesses, Rapaport reported. Revenue from countries outside the U.K., where the company is based, dropped 34 percent to $464.1 million, while U.K. sales rose 11 percent to $36.1 million.
Giant global luxury firm Richemont, which owns Cartier and Montblanc among its other subsidiaries, gives a comprehensive picture of the state of the luxury market with its results for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company's results were impacted by the power of the Swiss franc, a crackdown on corruption in China, overstocking by dealers, and the low pace of economic growth around the world as well as geopolitical uncertainty. Richemont’s sales rose 6% to €11.1 billion, while net profit was €2.23 billion, below the €2.39 billion analysts had been expecting.
Swiss jeweler De Grisogono SA has acquired the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond which it bought from Dubai trader Nemesis International DMCC. The giant diamond was discovered by Lucapa Diamond Co at its Lulo mine in Angola. Nickolas Polak, a director of Nemesis International, declined to disclose the price for which the stone had been sold, but in February Lucapa said it sold the 404-carat diamond for $22.5 million, Bloomberg reported.
The luxury goods market should pick up in 2017, aided by resurgent demand in the United States and China, after hitting a low this year, according to business consultancy Bain & Co. The approximate $285 billion luxury industry is likely to see sales growth this year of around 1% at constant exchange rates compared with 1.5% in 2015. "I think this year could be a low point for the industry," Claudia d'Arpizio, a Bain partner and lead author of studies on the luxury sector, told Reuters on the fringes of the New York Times International luxury conference in Versailles, outside Paris.
Luxury products group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton posted an increase in revenue on the year before of 4% to 8.6 billion euros for the first quarter 2016. "The U.S. market is strong and Europe remains well oriented except for France which is affected by a fall in tourism," the firm said in a statement. "Asian markets are varied, but Japan continues to progress." The company's Watches & Jewelry unit recorded organic revenue growth of 7% in the first quarter of 2016, outperforming the market, it reported.
China is raising charges on packages ordered from abroad and cracking down on smugglers who carry in suitcases full of luxury goods, in a move to encourage shopping at home and diminish a grey market that shoppers use to avoid tax, according to a Reuters report. Whereas Chinese shoppers account for a third of global sales of luxury goods, sales that actually take place in mainland China account for only a fifth.
Luxury haute couture brand Bicion and designer Dan Gamache have produced a pair of the world's most expensive trainers - a pair of custom Li-Ning Dwyane Wade shoes decked out with hundreds of carats of white diamond pieces and blue sapphires set into gold - costing $4 million. The trainers were unveiled in New York. They will be auctioned off to benefit the Soles4Souls - a US-based charity that collects new and used shoes and redistributes them through direct donations to people in need.
Swiss watch exports were negative for the eighth consecutive month in February, with a value of $1.75 billion (1.7 billion francs) – a decline of 3.3% on the year, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported in a statement. The export figures were significantly influenced by developments in the Hong Kong market. Wristwatches recorded a less pronounced fall in value, down 2.0%, but bimetallic timepieces dragged the figures down, while steel products registered an upturn.
Despite an economic slowdown, the Indian luxury market, including high-end jewelry grew by 25% last year, reaching $15 billion, and recent studies in the country provide encouraging news for the future of the Indian luxury market which has seen many global players enter it in recent years. The luxury market is seen growing by 30-35% over the next three years.