The economy is picking up, and some jewelers are heading
back into the market after a few years of forgoing show season. But with a
number of trade shows to choose from, both nationally and internationally, the
desire to visit a specific show, such as JCK in Las Vegas, may be offset by
more practical factors, including travel expenses, timing and increased online
access to vendors and new product lines. Making the decision to attend a
particular show has become less of a need and more of a choice.
VEGAS OR BUST
Of course, plenty of retailers still feel that going to
Vegas is important. For Harold Krasner, owner of Harold Steven’s Jewelers in
San Diego, California, JCK is the only show he feels he must attend. “I don’t
think it’s necessary to go to other shows,” he said. “JCK is an important
gathering of vendors from around the world, and we can make connections with
people we see only once a year, and view some of the newest products. Basel is
a show I have been to, but it’s very expensive to go. It’s a great show, and
it’s useful, but I haven’t been there in 15 years.”
Bob Moeller, president and director of sales at R.F.
Moeller, with three stores in Minnesota, will also be in Vegas this year. “There
are two main reasons you go to JCK,” he said. “First, to find out what’s going
on in the industry as a whole, and second, to reinforce the vendor
relationships you have.” Still, Moeller, who also attended Basel this year, and
regularly attends Centurion and Conclave, doesn’t always buy a lot of inventory
on the road. “I buy maybe as little as 10 percent at the shows,” he said. “I
can remember years ago when you bought twice a year, in spring and fall. But
now that everyone buys more often — you reorder every week or every month — the
shows have taken on a different tone.”
Richard Lee Mathis, owner of Symmetry Jewelers in New
Orleans, Louisiana, will not be attending this year’s JCK, though he usually
goes. In fact, he might not attend any shows at all in 2012. “I might go to the
show in New York for a couple of days, but I’m not even positive about that,”
he said. “We’ve been concentrating on keeping up with commissions and our own
orders, and I have salespeople coming in off the road. And JCK is so big. It’s
really too big. You have to have a mission, and you can’t just wander around.
When they changed the layout around in 2011, it took a while for me to get my
Others will be bypassing JCK because they can do their
business closer to home. “All the stuff we’d see in Vegas, we can see at the
New York show,” said Robert Tortoriello, sales manager at Bentley Diamond
Importers in Wall Township, New Jersey. “The New York show is pretty big and we
can get to it, and there are the same people at all the shows.”
Some retailers choose not to attend the Vegas show because
they’ve been traveling to international shows instead. “I feel like the
overseas trips give me a different niche,” said Doug Jones, owner of Dale’s
Jewelers in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “I used to go to JCK all the time, but there’s
more juice to the story of my going overseas, and it translates into my
expertise and into my store’s niche. I’m not negative on the JCK show. I’d go
if it were better timing, but I’ll have been in Bangkok the week before. And I
feel like I’m treated better overseas. In Vegas, they’re trying to determine
what kind of store you are, and how much business they can do with you.”
Moving forward, retailers are beginning to become more
comfortable with using online resources to take advantage of
business-to-business opportunities, and that may ultimately change the way
trade shows function. “I think trade shows could become less important,” said
Mathis. “The whole industry is changing. Most collections have websites, so I
could pick up a collection just by doing a little research. You occasionally
hear from people who don’t have any internet presence, and that’s crazy.”
Tortoriello also felt that the internet has had an effect on
his need to physically be at some of the shows. “It used to be you had to go to
the shows, but now I can order online instead,” he said. “That’s bad for the
shows, but it’s good for retailers, because you can buy the same amount of
inventory without having to go to the shows.”
- Round remains the best-selling shape, with princess and
cushion cuts tied for second.
- 1-carat diamonds sell best, though some customers will go
smaller in return for a higher color or clarity.
- SI1 is the most popular clarity, but an eye-clean I1 may
sell if the customer wants a larger stone.
- The top color is H.
- Platinum and 18-karat white gold are both selling equally
well, with rare but increasing requests for yellow gold.
- The average price for an engagement ring, including stone
and setting, is $6,125.
Article from the Rapaport Magazine - May 2012. To subscribe click here.