7 March 2003
Traders upbeat about world jewellery trade but cautious about US market
The study, commissioned by the Trade Development Council, was conducted at the just-concluded Hong Kong International Jewellery Show. It also found that traders were "cautious" about the US market.
Nearly three-quarters of those interviewed by Oracle Market Research said they expected the world jewellery industry in 2003 to perform better than or similar to it did in 2002.
But the respondents were more optimistic about the EU market than the American market.
TDC's Jewellery Advisory Committee Chairman Leung Sik Wah said: "Should uncertainties -- caused by a possible war in Iraq-- be removed early, the outlook of the global jewellery market would be even better".
Oracle interviewed 449 exhibitors and 738 buyers who were from many parts of the world.
The Chinese mainland market was seen to offer the best trading opportunities. But some respondents said they had difficulty developing their business there.
This was because they were "not familiar with Chinese laws and regulations"; because China "lacked competent managers and executives" and the country's import tariff and VAT were too high.
It was revealed that Hong Kong's jewellery industry had been moving up the value-added ladder, helped by its quality design.
There are currently about five in-house designers in every Hong Kong jewellery factory, compared to about two in 2002. Hong Kong manufacturers expect the number to rise to about six designers per factory in three years' time.
Other findings include:
Fashion trend: jewellery watches for both men and women are showing the biggest potential in the marketplace aside from traditional jewellery;
Women's market: in Japan, jewellery for women's clothes and accessories is enjoying high growth. In the EU, jewellery on mobile phones is becoming increasingly popular;
Men's market: men's jewellery watches are a big hit in the Chinese mainland, but in the EU, earrings are the fad while Japanese men prefer brooches.
Diamond jewellery designs: the most popular designs for diamond jewellery are the "melee", prong-setting, and those that match diamond with white metal, especially platinum, or white gold.
Pearls: the respondents favour South Sea pearls and freshwater pearls. As for shape, round, semi-round and drop are preferred. For colour, white continues to dominate.
Sourcing: about a quarter of buyers surveyed indicated they would change their sourcing strategies by placing orders more frequently and demanding shorter delivery times. The survey found that buyers normally had more than one supplier and that Hong Kong and Southern China was a "most preferred" new source of supply.
Hong Kong Advantage: respondents cited 'competitive pricing", "high quality", "creativeness" and "style" as factors that give Hong Kong's jewellery industry the edge.
Mainland market: exhibitors express a growing intent to develop their retail business in the mainland. While the Pearl River Delta region is still the star for both production and retail activities, the Yangtze River Delta region is another popular choice for developing the consumer market.
Hong Kong's jewellery exports recorded a strong rebound in 2002, with shipments soaring by 17% to HK$19 billion. The biggest jewellery shipments went to Hong Kong's major markets: the US, UK and Germany, which chalked up increases of 25%, 19% and 17 %, while exports to the Chinese mainland rose by 23%.
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