I think it is a very good idea. As the diamond supply pipeline is getting shorter with fewer intermediaries in the market, diamond bourses will need to offer more value-adding services to their members, especially in marketing. A trade fair run by diamond bourses themselves, such as the ADTF, is one of those services.
The WFDB, as the umbrella organization of 28 bourses and their 11,000 members, is also looking closely at what can be done to help bourse members increase their sales, and improve the diamond market. I’ve just come back from Hong Kong, where we held the Third WFDB Asian Summit Meeting. This was a meeting of diamond bourse presidents and other industry leaders from Asia (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Thailand), to determine, among other things, how they can interact with counterparts in the western markets, and how to cooperate to increase the market share of diamonds in the luxury product markets. A trade fair, organised by a bourse or bourses, is one of the tools to achieve that goal.
What do you think of the concept of the ADTF itself?
By bringing in buyers – also first time buyers – in to the diamond district, and specifically into the trading halls of the bourses, you’re effectively lowering the threshold for these new potential clients. By virtually holding their hands, trust and experience can be built and next time these buyers will have no problem coming to the district under their own steam. As a son of Antwerp – I grew up in the city – I am proud of the success and growth of this refreshing ‘Made-in-Antwerp’ concept. However, there is no reason why this would not work elsewhere in the world as well.
On another note, what is the major challenge of the upcoming holiday sales season?
First of all, in our trade, one always needs to remain optimistic. Secondly, it’s all about the marketing message. For the jewellery, and diamond jewellery business in particular, this message needs to relate to emotion. In the North American and European markets the jewellery retailers will have to be innovative, convincing and competitive. Fortunately, reports of this autumn’s retail sales in North America are looking up again. At the same time, there is significant growth in the Asian market, in greater China and India. These shifts in the diamond market are keeping us all on our toes, and, excited.