Rapaport Magazine

Israel

By Deena Taylor
Business So-So at Hong Kong Show

The Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) sponsored the largest Israeli diamond pavilion to date at the recent Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. However, diamantaires who were hoping for a final trading push before the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) closes for summer break from August 10 to 22 reported mixed results. Nearly 80 Israeli companies exhibited at the show and many were dissatisfied with the low margins achieved for their goods due to weaker polished prices.
   Nonetheless, one diamantaire, who requested anonymity, summed up the general reaction to the show: “We had some sales. But the June show is a slow show usually, so sales were moderate for a show that we didn’t have big expectations for. It wasn’t a big success, but it wasn’t a failure, either.”
   Nissim Palomo, the chief marketing officer for IDI, noted that although the show, which took place two weeks after JCK Las Vegas ended, is considered the least important of the three annual trade shows in Hong Kong, it appeals to some companies because it is currently the only Hong Kong show that incorporates diamonds, jewelry and gemstones under one roof. Ranjeet Barmecha, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Niru Group, which specializes in baguettes, tapers and princess-cut diamonds, explained that while the show was challenging in terms of making sales to locals, his company’s usual clients were in attendance and they placed good-quality orders.

Unique Selling Point
   Dotan Siman-Tov, the managing director at Lili Diamonds, a manufacturer of patented, special-cut diamonds, layouts of fancy shape diamonds and high-end jewelry, also had a booth in Hong Kong and asserted that it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in the market, which has become progressively more competitive.
   “Each year, there are more and more exhibitors and the shows are growing,” said Siman-Tov. “I don’t think there are enough buyers in the world today. If ten years ago I was one of only ten Israeli companies exhibiting in Hong Kong, today there are almost 100 companies. So any way you look at it, the market is being divided. You can’t sell in the same way that you sold ten years ago.”
   Siman-Tov stressed the importance of finding a unique niche or selling point to attract and retain business, noting that strong branding will help manufacturers improve their margins. He contended that with clients looking for something unique in today’s market, companies that don’t have a distinctive selling point or a unique product will find it increasingly difficult to take their share of the market.
   “Competition today is much stronger because of the growing technology and internet, and not only in the diamond and jewelry business. Companies that are not looking a few steps to the future will not be in the game,” Siman-Tov said.
   As July came to a close, trading in the IDE remained quiet, with activity further impacted by the U.S. summer vacation. Barmecha noted that although locally the market was quiet, overseas orders were sufficient to spur business. Another dealer observed that even though trading has quieted with summer vacations, strong bourse activity is dependent on traders moving from one show to the next, with dealers now looking toward the Hong Kong September show.

New Initiatives
   In a new marketing outreach, the IDI announced a strategic alliance with the Texas Jewelers Association (TJA) to hold the first Texas-Israel Diamond Show in San Antonio from September 29 to 30. The show, which will run in conjunction with TJA’s annual convention from September 27 to 30, aims to introduce Israeli diamantaires to jewelers in the Greater Texas region by creating an exclusive diamond buying opportunity for members of the trade.
   Approximately 30 exhibitors from Israel will participate at the show, which will take place in the ballroom of the St. Anthony Hotel. Palomo explained that while this is the first year for the Texas show, “If it is successful, we have plans in the coming years to develop it and make it into something bigger.”

Eleven Years of Jovella
   The eleventh edition of Jovella, Israel’s international jewelry and diamond exhibition, took place at Tel Aviv’s Trade Fairs and Convention Center on July 1 and 2 with approximately 250 exhibitors participating. Eleven companies from the IDE, led by its president Shmuel Schnitzer, exhibited at Jovella in an effort to promote Israeli diamonds and gem-set jewelry. They said sales at the show were very slow.
   The exhibition was organized by the Stier Group, in collaboration with the Israel Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (IJMA), the Israel Ministry of Economy, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and IDI.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2014. To subscribe click here.

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