Featuring more than 4,550 exhibitors, the fifth Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show (27 February-3 March) and the 35th Hong Kong International Jewellery Show (1-5 March) concluded with participation from about 87,000 buyers from 145 countries and regions, representing a two per cent increase from last year. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), more than 33,700 buyers visited the Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show, while about 53,000 visitors attended the Jewellery Show.
“With improving global economic conditions, Hong Kong’s exports of precious jewellery rose 3.6 per cent last year. We are delighted that exhibitor attendance at both shows was the highest in years, and that attendance of both local and overseas buyers set new records,” said Benjamin Chau, Deputy Executive Director of the HKTDC.
“This shows that Hong Kong is an important sourcing platform for the global jewellery industry. The exhibitors are generally satisfied with the results at the shows. In terms of attendance, buyers from Japan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran and Turkey recorded significant growth, reflecting the market potential of these countries. Hong Kong companies should capitalise on the opportunities presented by these markets.”
The HKTDC commissioned independent on-site surveys at the two shows, interviewing nearly 1,300 exhibitors and buyers to gauge their views on industry trends and the demands of exhibitors and buyers. The survey found that 62 per cent of respondents expect overall sales this year to remain unchanged, with 33 per cent expecting sales to increase and only five per cent expecting sales to fall, which is lower than the 16 per cent recorded last year, suggesting general optimism about future prospects. In terms of retail prices, 67 per cent of respondents expect prices to remain unchanged, while 31 per cent anticipate prices to increase and two per cent expect prices to drop.
Expected Sales Performance in 2018: Increase 33%; Unchanged 62% and Decrease 5%
Expected Retail Prices Performance in 2018: Increase 31%; Unchanged 67% and Decrease 2%
In terms of product categories, most respondents said they were primarily sourcing contemporary jewellery (83%), followed by jewellery for weddings and special occasions (76%), designers’ jewellery (73%) and precious jewellery (71%).
As for price range, 68 per cent of respondents expect products that were priced between US$501-US$1,000 to have the greatest potential in the coming year, followed by products in the US$1,001-US$5,000 price range (58%) and those in the mid-to-low price range of US$101-US$500 (56%). Compared to the findings last year, more respondents favoured higher priced items, indicating higher purchasing power.
In terms of product materials, 45 per cent of respondents favoured karat rose gold, followed by karat white gold (37%) and platinum (37%). As for gemstones, the percentage of respondents who favoured diamond reached 61 per cent, which is the highest among gemstones and more than the 41 per cent recorded last year. This was followed by jade (18%), aquamarine (18%) and pearl (15%).
The survey also charted the industry’s views on business operations in 2018. Most respondents expected major challenges to come from price fluctuations of raw materials (45%), followed by increases in operating costs (40%), global economic fluctuations (35%), and exchange rate fluctuations (29%).
Another note-worthy finding was respondents’ greater optimism about prospects in emerging markets, compared to the previous year. Seventy-five per cent of respondents viewed the Chinese mainland market most favourably among emerging markets, followed by the Middle East (75%), Russia (73%), Latin America (71%) and ASEAN (55%). As for mature markets, respondents expected the markets of Western Europe (68%), Hong Kong (64%) and North America (58%) to have the greatest potential.
Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show featured premium jewellery from around the world, providing an important sales and promotion platform for Hong Kong’s jewellery sector to develop overseas markets.
Victor Yiu, Director of Zuri Jewellery, a Hong Kong exhibitor, said his 10-year-old company focuses on original design and on the Chinese mainland market. The company has successfully developed its overseas markets by participating in the Jewellery Show in the past four years. This year, the company’s new collection “A Joyous Journey,” attracted plenty of attention from large retailers, including a large retail group from the Chinese mainland, which decided to launch the collection in May. Buyers from Indonesia, the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam also expressed keen interest in the collection.
In its fifth year adopting the “two shows, two venues” format, the HKTDC staged the Jewellery Show at the HKCEC for finished jewellery, and the Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show at the AsiaWorld-Expo, where the show focused on jewellery raw materials. The format offered exhibitors and buyers a highly effective means to connect with potential business partners.
Mete Boybeyi, owner of Turkish company Boybeyi, said he purchased US$150,000 worth of diamonds from three exhibitors from Israel, India and the Chinese mainland at the Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, while sourcing up to US$1 million worth of high-quality jewellery at the Jewellery Show. He said that the “two shows, two venues” format allowed for easier and more efficient sourcing of suitable products.
The HKTDC also organised an array of events to promote industry exchange, including a gala dinner sponsored by the Tanzanite Foundation, as well as seminars on jewellery technology, marketing strategies, jewellery craftsmanship and quality standard, buyer forum, jewellery parades and networking receptions.