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Coronavirus and the Jewelry Industry

As of March 1st, 2020, the Coronavirus has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide and more than 88,000 global cases, according to CNN’s March 1 coronavirus news. As many industries having been negatively impacted, the Jewelry industry is being affected in various ways. From China’s demand for gold jewelry dropping, to the direct impact China is experiencing and various exhibitions being pushed back, we can expect 2020 to be filled with new statistics and new markets benefiting from the virus’s impact globally.

The demand for gold jewelry in the world’s top consumer, China, is likely to plunge this year per Bloomberg. Zhang Yongtao, Chief Executive Officer of the China Gold Association, noted: “People are not in the mood to shop for jewelry. Stores and shopping malls are closed because of the virus. The sales of gold jewelry and bars will drop substantially this year.” This will open new channels for exporting and importing gold and gold jewelry. According to an article from the business standard published on February 25th, 2020, “Countries like the UK, France, Qatar, Australia and Thailand can be explored for exporting gold jewellery products.” Allowing new markets to seize the opportunity in exporting gold jewelry.

Another article from Bloomberg states, “Big consumer firms from Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. to Yum China Holdings Inc. have closed as many as 80% of total stores” in prevention of the virus spreading further with no reopening dates to be foreseen. This gives new opportunities in the supply chain for smaller markets to take advantage such as British manufactures. According to an Article published from the Professional Jeweller on February 26, 2020, Hockley Mint managing director, Gary Wroe states, “We’ve been able to help retailers who have been struggling with supply problems recently. “Being a British manufacturer we aren’t reliant upon imported goods and have been able to adapt to ensure we can meet the needs of those customers who have been left struggling to meet their clients’ needs due to difficulties in their usual supply chain.” British manufacturers are an example of smaller markets capitalizing on the Coronavirus in the jewelry industry.

The Hongkong Jewellery & Gem which was originally scheduled form March 3 – March 6, is now postponed all the way to May 19 – 21. Nevertheless, the Bangkok Jewellery & Gem Fair went as scheduled from February 25 - 29, seeing numerous customers changing their flight path last minute to the Thai capital. Many buyers and exhibitors could have been seen wearing protectives masks and warning signs plastered on the walls in an action to prevent the virus from spreading at the Bangkok fair. Tairus Created Gems had a stable fair, seeing many old and new customers, the main light of conversation being how the virus is affecting

everyone. Many Chinese companies were also able to exhibit at the show with no ramifications.

As many companies have been negatively impacted by the virus, particularly in China, this has given new opportunities for smaller markets to be strengthened. From manufacturing jewelry to exporting and importing raw goods such as gold, we can see how china is a huge player in the jewelry industry. The questions now are how much more damage will the Chinese economy incur and how long will the virus continue to impact the jewelry industry?

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