Las Vegas: Decent Trading and The Return of the American ConsumerJune 06, 10
The Las Vegas shows lived up to people’s pre-show expectations: good trading. Nothing more, or less. Jewelry buyers were focused on lower price point items, while diamond buyers sought a wide variety of goods, yet focusing on keeping prices within range.
At the high-end Couture show, exhibitors showcased a wide range of designs. The surprising element was the addition of low -end lines that most of the designers brought to accommodate the interest in lower price points, and so, many had items that retail at $300 and up, some had $150 items.
From a design perspective, an emerging trend is intricate, lace like design elements. This is a step away from the simpler design styles that the American market usually favors. Designers created large pendants and wide bracelets with this design element.
Two other trends seen at Couture were very delicate, thin, light and airy items and, conversely, large layered items, mostly necklaces. The first was often made with yellow gold and set sparsely with diamonds or semi-precious stones. The components of the large items were a mix of materials in different sizes and colors.
At the JCK show, exhibitors did not offer any defined trend, but the desire to bring down price point was clear. Naturally, as the show progressed, it became clear that buyers were focusing on lower cost items.
Among the diamond traders things were different. Israeli traders provided a mixture of impressions, preferring to remain vague about their business. Indian traders were buying 1+ carat goods in the lower H-K color range, VVS+ quality, not insisting on good makes. Some said the purchases were speculative, while others said they are buying them to supply the Indian retail market.
Fancy color, mostly larger 2+ carat items sold well according to almost all those that sold them.
Finally, a word about the American consumer. The U.S. economy is slowly improving. In the summer of 2008, a few months before the crash, walking down Las Vegas Blvd. it was clear that there are less American vacationers walking around. In retrospect, it was an early sign that spending is down and that something was not working right in the U.S. market.
This week, the crowds were clearly back. Anecdotal conversations with taxi drivers, shop owners and others, pointed to a rise in spending and greater confidence among these American vacationers. The spending levels are not yet back to their previous highs, but are none the less recuperating. If this is an indication, the Holiday Season may have a positive surprise for us all.