The Future of Gems & Jewelry Post Pandemic: Where Are We Headed?
The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) organized a webinar entitled “The Future of Gems & Jewelry Post Pandemic: Where Are We Headed?” on June 4, 2021 highlighting the potential business opportunity between India’s and Thailand’s jewelry industry in post COVID-19, as well as to promote the upcoming BGJF Virtual Trade Fair (The 66th Special Edition), Asia’s largest Jewellery virtual trade fair that will be held during June 22-24, 2021. The webinar received a positive and overwhelming response, from over 2,415 participants on YouTube and various social media platforms at a time. It proved a historical event.
Ms. Supatra Sawaengsri, Consul (Commercial) Thai Trade Center in Mumbai gave brief overview of Thailand’s gems and jewelry industry that “Thailand is the world’s third-largest exporter of silver jewellery and colored stones after the US and Hong Kong. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the whole industry and resulted in slow export volume and value from January – March 2021. the exports of some product categories, for example, silver, counted 371.30 million USD, an increase of 6.47% over the same period of last year, while diamond export sales generated 305.45 million USD, a rise of 10.18% over the same period of the previous year.
“DITP has been working extra hard during this Pandemic Era to push Thailand's Gem & Jewellery Sector. We are well aware of the difficult situation the world is in right now, but we are doing everything possible to help keep the business moving and growing. Hence, DITP is organizing BGJF Virtual Trade Fair (The 66th Special Edition) between June 22-24, 2021. This event will feature products with latest innovation, many up-and-coming artisans and designers, exquisite pieces of the world's top craftsmanship and nationally-renowned manufacturing companies as well. It will serve as an online platform for gems and jewellery trading and networking, where buyers and exporters from all over the world will be able to conduct businesses and build long-term trading relationships despite the COVID-19 restrictions.” Ms. Supatra said.
Ms. Supatara also informed that, with the global economy struggling and the COVID-19 pandemic impact, the DITP has adapted to respond quickly by introducing various strategies to help sustain Thai gems and jewellery exports. These include penetrating new markets and expanding online sales channels in existing markets, maximizing the international connections of the DITP’s 59 Thai Trade Centers worldwide, and increasing cooperation efforts with the public and private sectors, as well as the various gems and jewellery associations to establish online marketplaces and key online trading platforms around the world through the Thailand’s Magic Hands: The Spirit of Jewellery Making campaign. We will also look at increasing the competitiveness of Thai entrepreneurs and enhancing Thai MSMEs’ capabilities. In this connection, the DITP facilitates Thailand to become the world's gems and jewellery trading hub.
Regarding the jewelry consumption trend during the pandemic, Mr. Suriyon Sriorathaikul, Managing director, Beauty Gems Group & Chairman of Gem and Jewelry Industry Club, the Federation of Thai Industries, Thailand commented that jewelry is the best companion, and it is proved that we need to spread love amidst pandemic. It is akin to World War Three, where people cannot travel, and they are anxiously seeing the things going around. Jewellery can do the bare minimum to make someone feel good amidst an unhappy environment. My business aims to remind us that we are still living beautifully and are expanding the company online.
Mr. Saiyam Maheta, vice President, All India Gems and Jewellery, Domestic council, also shared his view that the Covid 19 pandemic has affected the world, and especially in India, certain states are still under lockdown partially or fully. In 2020, the crisis started, the world has sailed through difficult times. It turned out to be the best investment option where other asset classes were tied during this period. The demand for jewellery has not fully diminished. With the new normal coming in with travel restrictions, people's limitations in weddings, and so much more, people have started reinvesting in jewellery, particularly diamonds, precious gemstones, and globally, colored stones. He said Covid had taught us to be digitally savvy, and while people can't meet each other physically, the digital world is merging this gap. In June 2020, the Thailand Department of International Trade Promotion conducted webinars that helped both the Indian and Thailand governments revive the business. The hybrid initiatives can fill the gap of physical reality with the virtual world. Many players adopt technology like AR in both countries, and digital technology has been a boon. Although, we are eagerly waiting to meet everyone in person as the network is quite imperative
Ms. Payal Shah, Owner, L’dezen Jewelry, Jewelry designer, said that the pandemic had changed everything drastically. Despite that, I have learned many things in the past two years. I wished to stay ahead of the curve. From the Thailand Fair, we have got to learn new things. We have added Augmented Reality to the website so people can enjoy virtual shopping from their phone or PC at their mere fingertips. Another offer is we arrange a video call with the clients and show them our array of pieces. We help them style it with their needs; this helps in a one-on-one conversation with the customer, which they enjoy while buying jewellery. Additionally, we had provided quite detailed images and videos of jewellery, including detailed information. The 360-degree view videos help the clients have much better clarity of the jewellery. The online shopping experience change, but also the expectations of people will change post covid. Instead of investing in huge jewelry pieces, people wish to wear jewellery which they can wear from day tonight. Be it gym, dinner, meetups, regular occasions; the all-rounder pieces will work well until they are in the proper price range.
Mr. Rajesh Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Overseas Ltd, the moderator of webinar, said that though India entered the global gem & jewelry market late in '90, we have captured well. In the meantime, we also had tied up with the Thai gem & jewelry industry. Even today, lots can work with Thailand. De facto, we are not competing; we have to complement each other!
Overall the conversation and exchange of ideas remained fruitful and result-oriented if both are moving ahead! Indeed, India and Thailand can change the global trade scenario with 90% of the market share in color stone and diamond. Let's go forward in the era of post-COVID-19! said Ms. Reena Shukla, Director Bajaj Overseas limited, who was the convener of the webinar.