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COVID-19 is here to stay 100 years. Is your jewellery business ready to face it?

22 Jul 2020

Coronavirus, the disease that the pathogen causes, was first identified in China’s Wuhan district in December 2019. In no time, the disease spread to 70 other countries. On January 30, 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since then to date, almost the entire world has come to a standstill. According to a recent report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), “The global economy could suffer between $5.8 trillion and $8.8 trillion in losses - equivalent to 6.4 per cent to 9.7 per cent of the global GDP - as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.” Given this, is the jewellery industry ready to face an era post-coronavirus lockdown? Well, like every other business the jewellery trade, will have to get up and running whether COVID-19 is here to stay for 100 days or 100 years. Jewelers worldwide, here’s how to embrace a change in the way of doing jewellery business to face an era post-coronavirus.
 

The Worldwide Jewellery Market

In 2019, the total global jewelry market was valued at approximately USD 301 billion. Some of the top jewelry retailers worldwide include LVMH Group, Tiffany and Co., Signet Jewelers, Richemont Group, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited, and Rajesh Exports.

Besides, the Technavio who has been closely monitoring the global gems and jewelry market had likewise suggested that the industry was poised to grow by USD 103.06 billion during 2019-2023.

But then again by March 2020, diamond jewellers, gold jewellers, coloured gemstone dealers worldwide, began to face disruptions in the supply chain caused by the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. The first business to go down in any crisis is always the purchase of luxury items thereby directly impacting the overall sales and growth figures of the gems and jewellery industry. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) says the global economy is expected to shrink by up to 1% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a reversal from the previous forecast of 2.5% growth. No one knows the exact quantum of damage nor how long the aftereffects of post-coronavirus will continue.

The reason behind the high impact on the jewellery trade

  • A shutdown of jewellery retail stores in most countries.
  • Large number of traditional retail stores especially in developing countries have little or no online presence. 
  • Consumers limiting purchase of non-essential and especially luxury items.

Measures to be taken by global gems and jewellery market for growth in the post-COVID years

Nothing at this point seems closer than the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. Yes, everyone directly or indirectly connected to the jewelry business, must be aware of the need to strategize the business differently. Some of the measures, which are taken by global gems and jewellery industry towards growth in the post-COVID times are already in place. Others may be added over time in line with market demand. They include: -

1. Rescheduling trade events

In our minds, the traditional jewellery industry is highly personal in nature. International Jewellery Fairs where the biggest jewellers in the world congregated was best to network. In the coming months due to the global pandemic the Hong Kong and Basel Fair the events needed to be rescheduled. The show organizers may now have to rearrange and redesign booths to minimize direct contact with customers.

2. Emergence of Remote Work

There will be jobs created by the industry in areas like digital marketing, jewellery designing, jewellery testing, sales and marketing which can be done remotely. Video conferencing will be the ‘new normal’. With the increased buyers relying on tech and turning to mobile apps, there will be a significant shift in how business is conducted post-COVID19.

3. Interfacing

Apex associations like GJEPC, India are already in talks with respective embassies to organize the virtual B2B wherein buyers of the respective countries and India's sellers of varied gems and jewellery products would be connected through online facility. A completely new way to do business.

4. Education and Training

With online courses, webinars, e-classes, online submissions, etc. teaching gemmology and training students have taken a new meaning. Maybe classroom interactions will be limited while online jewelry training increases. IIGJ, India’s premier educational institute in Gems & Jewellery, is already a step ahead conducting webinars and online competitions for its students. They are working for a healthier environment for students when they need to return to campus. Till then online teaching-learning continues.

5. Increasing e-jewellery presence

The work from home concept has accelerated the adoption of online services. Jewellery sellers are coming up with novel ideas to sell online. These include,

  • Video calling feature available for salespersons to interact face-to-face with customers.
  • Budgeting for online advertising and branding.
  • Live forums and chats on the website to assist potential customers.
  • Use of Webinars to educate and apprise shareholders, business partners, customers with the latest, and most reliable information.
  • E-books for designs.
  • Contactless delivery option.

This is the perfect opportunity for traditional jewellers to make a smooth transition to the digital world by introducing a user-friendly website, a trustworthy payment system and a smooth feedback loop with the customer especially in smaller cities where a stand-alone brick and mortar store dealt in jewellery.

6. Adapting to changes in consumer behaviour

Regular sanitation, minimal contact, safe social distance, safety masks and gloves for employees, etc. are becoming the new norm in jewellery retailing. Only if the safety of a customer is guaranteed he/she will step into the jewellery store. 

7. Innovation

Innovation in terms of design and manufacturing technology will need to continue as one of the primary drivers to boost the global gems and jewelry market growth during the next few years.

8. Hallmarks and Certificates of Guarantee

There may be an apprehension of buying high-value goods online. However, if the product comes with hallmarks and guarantee certificates, people will surely begin to trust in the brand.

Conclusion

The one thing that emerges is COVID19 is here to stay for a while. It’s time to get your jewellery business ready to face it. We know change is imminent. We have highlighted the measures that most jewellers will take when they reopen for business after the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. For some, it may mean starting afresh for others only a marginal difference. Like every other business, this industry too will get back on its feet. With little sparkle and some sanitization get going!

 


About Rukshana-

Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.