Fiera di Vicenza by jennyyingdi

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 4

									Vicenzaoro winter 2007


     INTERVIEW WITH THE ITALIAN GOLD JEWELLERY RETAILERS
                          FEDERATION
1. What are Italian retailers’ expectations for jewellery sales over the 2006 holiday
period?

“Give emotion, choose a jewel: You won’t regret it. A jewel is made to last”. These are the
slogans that Italian jewellers are repeating as the end-of-year festivities approach.

The hope shared by many is that it will be a Christmas without any surprises. These are
the findings of a survey carried out over the last few weeks among our members.

Positivity: this is the first impression that emerges from the survey that involved local
associations and members of the category organisation. A ray of sunlight in a period when
forecasts constantly threaten bad weather. A blast of fresh air for those businesses that
manage to come up with new ideas and also emotions for their clientele, the latter perhaps
showing more interest than previously in buying jewels increasingly linked to fashion and
customs.

No denying it, this is what emerges from the comments we gathered. The consumers’
preferences will turn towards trendy and fashion articles with a rather low price and often
made from alternative materials, almost always by brands that are the best communicators
of image. Long dangly earrings and charm bracelets to make wrists jangle – these are the
forecasted bestsellers. A no longer timid sign of recovery from the higher bracket cannot
be ignored, where a return to the jewel as a unique piece is expected, perhaps made to
the client’s design or idea, but quality jewellery (well-represented in ranges) is also making
a comeback.

“Despite the many highs and lows and diversifications depending on geographical areas
and kinds of shops”, comment local representatives led by the Federation, “we have
detected an increase that leaves plenty of room for hope. It’s clear, one swallow does not
make a summer, but it does fuel us with that optimism that was missing maybe in recent
months due to the market’s well-known ups and downs.
We have invested, albeit in small doses, in local initiatives, with the aim of re-presenting
the jewel with a cultural and emotional identity. A sort of path that intends to valorise gold
jewellery products. A drop in the ocean, but one which surely shows how the union of
several operators can lead to the creation of initiatives, which, although not innovative,
help to attract attention for our products.
2. What are the real prospects for jewellery from the retailer’s point of view?

Over recent years the Italian market as a whole has shown interesting ideas for quality
articles. Censis (Centre for Social studies and Policies) provided the most recent figures
and among other things these confirm a tendency by an important segment of Italians to
prefer quality as the central factor behind their reasons for purchase.
Sociological indications from Censis (which incidentally cannot be quantified) show that
Italian consumers are taking a sufficiently well-defined path. This outline should direct gold
jewellery retailers towards new business organisation capable of guaranteeing that quality
standards are kept high; not only in terms of product. Competitiveness is solidly based on
enhancement of the price/quality ratio and above all on convincing consumers that they
have parted with their money for “something that is worth it”. In general, the Italian
consumer is proving to possess new sensitivity, in terms of commercial communication
and purchases in general.
 From a recent consumer credit survey by Findomestic in March 2006, it emerged that “the
family now specialises in “purchase planning”, selectively assessing no longer just the
individual elements (human resources, organisation, sales areas, range of products, etc.)
but the synergic combination of the same. Regions north and south, although very
different, are similar in that they prefer the overall service of the sales point to its more
tangible elements.
Furthermore, a third communication channel is coming to the fore among the traditional
channels and innovative ways of communication: “the grapevine” of the electronic era that
travels from one mobile phone to the next and which creates waves of success for places,
products and even sales points”.
The pointers that emerge from this analysis concern, among others, two important
aspects:

1) the consumer is more attentive towards lower prices and even “real” discounts; they
judge lower prices and the shops offering them; they pay more attention to the role played
by Internet;

2) after-sales service is becoming more important.

To conclude, an increasingly wider product range must be matched by mature sales-
related services.
We are witnessing a shift from the “instinctive and emulative” consumer models that have
characterised Italian purchases over past decades to a rational consumer who is also
inclined to hedonism. Necessity and pleasure seem less contrasting than in the past and
come together in specific purchase choices, not only functional ones.
More reflective, but at times more confused when faced with too many stimuli, today’s
consumer feels closer to quality than to price, but refuses simplistic contrasts and
searches for equilibrium.
Ultimately, clear information, high product quality and the possibility to compare are also
factors, in the gold jewellery sector, that go to make up the theatre where new consumer
models will be centre stage.
This leads to a need for greater transparency in presentation of products and transactions:
eliminating the doubt of risk grows consumer loyalty to gold and silver articles.

3. How much does communication (advertising, articles, etc.) for gold and jewellery
affect the end user’s choice?

Communication decidedly plays a fundamental role; the aim of communication is to
establish a long-lasting relationship between the sales point and consumers. The gold
jewellery sector has a head start as jewels themselves excite the consumer; we need to
find the way to exploit this emotion in individuals to convince them to buy.
The gold jewellery sector does not seem to show great expertise in the field of
communication and as yet there is no definite line on what image policy should be strictly
followed. This is due to the fact that the turnovers of most retail companies do not allow
them to make best use of communication professionals. Companies tend not to plan
advertising and promo activity in advance and not to define goals. In general the tendency
is for adverts in magazines and newspaper, mainly local ones, or short-lived initiatives
related to special shop displays, participation in local trade fairs or display material for the
sales point.
Analysis of the sample from a survey we carried out shows that retailers in general do not
spend much on advertising.
45% spend less than two thousand euros a year. The preferred promotion media are
advertising in magazines and/or newspapers (25%) and posters (14%), followed by
sponsorship of events (12%).
Suffice to think that out of a sample of 500 potential consumers we interviewed, 73%
cannot remember any advertising by gold jewellery retailers. Most of the remaining 27%
who said they could, when asked specified that advertising was mainly carried out during
the Christmas period or for Valentine’s Day.
According to 65% of those interviewed, the most frequent activity was adverts in
magazines and/or newspapers, followed by posters at 27% (usually regarding discounts,
moves and sales) and finally advertising on radio and tv (10%) and mailing (8%).

It is therefore a fact that the jewellery market does not invest in communication, or to be
more exact, it invests very little. Estimated investment for jewellery stands at around 1% of
sales, against an average 10.5% for luxury products and 6% for watches. What is
incoherent is that this is a product that needs to convey distinctive elements, symbols,
important imagination values and emotion and yet it is only marginally supported by
investment in advertising and communication.
The gold jewellery sector is bound to see the same evolution that other sector have
already experienced, with communication shifting increasingly towards the dimension of
reaction, as we now need involvement that is also emotional and cognitive and also
because today’s consumers, thanks to new technologies, are able to express their own
design capacities.
Hence the growing relevance of those tools that permit direct contact with the final
consumer, above all sales points, but also Internet. Both, in fact, can be seen as the
theatre where a brand’s strategy is staged, the setting par excellence for creating and
conveying a feeling, the place where company and client meet up.

In retail, in particular, it should maintain the image-service promise made in the
communication: from a viewpoint of integrated communication, the showcase is a mini-
poster, all the visual identity elements, the range itself, the level of professionalism,
courtesy and competence of the sales personnel and even after-sales service provided
reflect the brand image.
Gold jewellery companies are, however, faced with two kinds of problem: on the one hand
scarce control over the image conveyed through trade, which in most cases is inadequate
for becoming a mass media of image strategy; on the other the difficulties of creating an
imaginative world purely through jewellery, leading to the need, for all those who aspire to
single-brand distribution, of expansion into related businesses that complete their world of
reference.

4. What are the most popular and most requested genres and styles?

Let’s talk about the concept “Jewels for everyone”.
He gives her a present: in white gold, always a trendy piece set with diamonds, always a
symbol of love or earrings, charm bracelets that make wrists jangle in yellow gold, which is
coming back into fashion.
She gives him a present, this male who is increasingly more aware of his looks and
fashion: enamelled cufflinks, platinum necklaces and above all watches, large
chronographs, in steel or classic with leather straps.
We are truly spoilt for choice. And then, alongside the well-known jewellery names, there
are the lines designed by fashion stylists, so popular with the younger set. Not to be
forgotten, as we have already mentioned, the higher bracket, where there is a return to
classic jewellery.

								
To top