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Baselworld steers its ship in a different direction
Baselworld 2019
By: Diamond World News Service
Apr 30 2019 12:53PM
Reference: 19188  

Participants divided on Baselworld; low footfall plays spoilsport but jewellers are hoping for a buoyant future

lot has worked against one of the biggest and oldest jewellery and watch fairs in the world. Baselworld received its biggest blow when the Swatch Group pulled out this year along with the exodus of a host of other brands. Ever since this downfall, the show has considerably downsized and has made a few changes like the new layout and a few strategic events to attract more crowds. Did it help? Not really.

The footfall was relatively less as compared to the previous years – thenumbers have decreased drastically over the last three years – the closing press conference held by the new managing director Michel Loris- Melikoff reported that520 brands exhibited and the 6 days recorded a footfall of 81,200 visitors, 22% fewer than in 2018. “The footfall was relatively less as compared to the previous year; the buyers are similar to what we witnessed in Hong Kong show; the only difference is that here the number is less,” says Rishabh Tongya of Diacolor.

Says Sudeep Sethi of Manak Jewels, “The show started slow to allow residents to rent out their apartments. All of this definitely will play a major role in bringing back the traction to the show. “Layout for the next year will change, rates will decrease, increased customer profiling and the show combined with SIHH will be good. But looking at the show this year, it has to deliver more than it has committed,” adds Sethi.

While a few gem dealers said that the demand for gemstones were not extraordinary and closing was difficult owing to high price difference, Tank says, “Colour stones did quite well. Considering the uncertainty in the diamond market at the moment, there is a requirement for colour gemstones across the board. Paraíbas especially did very well. The demand was steady from all the regions.”

A lot rests on the big watch brands of course, considering Baselworld at the end of the day is mainly a watch show. There was talk that if Rolex and Patek also decide to exit, that will be the end of the show. The watch industry is also going through a rough phase with demand in the Chinese market hitting an all time low. European markets are not showing growth and digital watches have disrupted the traditional watch models. “Baselworld will always have its charm. A lot of big gold and diamond jewellery brands are still very much here. If they continue to stay in the show, the Hall of Elements where all the gemstone dealers are will definitely get serious buyers.”

The downsizing of the show has also worked well for a few exhibitors. The atmosphere was cozy and fewer players meant less competition.

Future Outlook
Throughout the entire duration of the show, Baselworld presented videos of Vision 2020+ to exhibitors in the Blue Room, a newly designed presentation room. The objective is to make Baselworld the most important community for the jewellery and watchmaking industry and transform it from a classic trade fair into an experience platform. The target is to offer all participants in the industry – representatives of the watch, jewellery, precious stones and technology sectors as well as journalists, bloggers and influencers, but also dealers and collectors – a digital platform with numerous information, service and networking tools throughout the year. The hospitality programme will also be further expanded.

Baselworld 2020 will feature numerous innovations such as new event and experience zones. Among other things, a Retailer Summit, CEO Talks and a Virtual Reality Zone are planned. The hall layout has also been re-envisaged: the gemstone exhibitors will move into Hall 2. An Innovation Square will be established in Hall 2 and a large area will be reserved for smartwatches and wearables. The outside exhibition square will be completely redesigned and interactive. At the same time, Baselworld will open its doors with a special offer specifically for end customers and collectors.

Michel Loris-Melikoff concluded: “Our strategy met with strong approval from the exhibitors during the presentations. We will tackle change with vigour and passion.” The next Baselworld will be held from 30 April to 5 May 2020.

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