Everyone has an opinion about the mood following the jewelry shows in Las Vegas, as do I. Here are my takeaways from the shows:
• Many jewelers feel good about the business going into the second half of the year, while others are cautious and deliberate about both their spending and their position in the retail space.
• We are experts in disposing of aged and unwanted merchandise, and we were bombarded with questions about it from both retailers and manufacturers. It’s a problem that never goes away.
• In-store traffic is down for virtually all retailers and online competition continues to be the most commonly identified challenge.
• Manmade diamonds again dominated presentations such as that from Rapaport and they also dominated conversations among many within the trade. The question is not whether lab-grown will play a big part in the marketplace in the years ahead. It’s more a matter of how they will affect the demand, and even the price, of natural diamonds. Most everyone sees the price of manmade diamonds decreasing over time as production levels rise almost indiscriminately.
• Vendors, for the most part, and diamond dealers (because of lab-grown diamonds, I suspect), seemed anxious and were willing to make deals when it made sense for them.
• Social media in various platforms is still dominating the way jewelers want to advertise and promote their stores and their brands. I’m not always convinced we can measure the results of social. I think there are other ways to accomplish the goal.
• The Gordon Company was spread out from JCK to COUTURE to CBG, seemingly by necessity. The question is, are we cutting the industry’s pie into so many pieces that it’s actually hurting the trade, not helping it?
• Some jewelers have gone to smaller store footprints, lower inventory levels, the use of CAD, and more specialty items. A wave of upstairs private jewelers is beginning to swell as the bigger, better, stronger stores open in new markets with the power of Rolex and top brand names.
• Technology, whether we like it or not, continues to make its way into every facet of our trade, and will be even more important in the future.
That’s my take on what we saw and heard at the shows. If we can help you think through what you’re going to do with excess inventory and cash flow needs, give us a call or drop us a line. We want to help.
Jeff Gordon, CEO