Vegas Swings, Yet A Little WobblyJune 08, 11
Business was active, buyers at a jewelry booth
The new venue of the JCK Las Vegas show at the Mandalay Bay convention center – nicer, newer and a little smaller than the Sands venue - was somewhat disorienting for most.
For diamond traders, business was a solid good trade show. The first day was very active, with demand mostly noted for SI goods. Prices, the main issue ahead of the show, kept their pre-show levels and remained firm. As one Sightholder told us, "there are no other prices."
As the show progressed, demand for fancy shape goods, mainly cushions, hearts and pears increased and seemed to be a trend.
Large and fancy color goods, a niche market, were in demand, with mixed reports on the prices. Some said they did well while others reported that prices were not higher than in the global diamond centers.
Indian traders, not in unusually large attendance, said they were at the show mostly to sell goods. However, they were actively seeking buying opportunities, looking mostly for goods they can offer in the Indian retail market.
All in all, the impression is that for diamonds, the show had mixed results, mainly because of the high pre-show expectations.
On the jewelry side, and this should perhaps be worrying, business was not as strong as for diamonds. Many exhibitors had a lukewarm response to questions about the show. Buyers were looking for "safe" purchases, possibly turned off by the low inclination to provide them with the kind of generous credit terms they got in the past.
In terms of design, there was no new or clear message coming out of the show. Some manufacturers keep creating well designed and well made items that are a joy to look out. The World Diamond Council displayed some large and bold items as part of their annual promotion drive. Natural, geometric and 3D designs, as well as the use of multi-color and texture are still seen too.
There is another issue that needs to be addressed: the lack of enthusiasm. The closer the pipeline gets to consumers, the duller the business looks - this should be the other way around. We are clearly short on excitement. To sell diamond jewelry we need a great story, pride in what we have and a lot less 'kvetching.'
The defunct generic diamond promotion body is very much needed. This does not really exist in other sectors such as hand bags or gadgets; however those industries are a lot less fragmented than the jewelry industry. In dollar terms, the amount of marketing spend is so low it's depressing. If we want to get anywhere, we need to invest money on getting there.