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The Melbourne Jewellery Expo (MJE) has offered the industry crucial insights into the year ahead. | Source: Expertise Events
The Melbourne Jewellery Expo (MJE) has offered the industry crucial insights into the year ahead. | Source: Expertise Events

Industry upbeat following Melbourne Jewellery Expo

The Melbourne Jewellery Expo (MJE) has offered the industry crucial insights into the year ahead.

Retailers and suppliers gathered at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over three days, with the fair closing yesterday.

Highlights of the weekend – outside of the warm summer weather – included special presentations from interior designer Shaynna Blaze, television and radio presenter Jo Stanley, and Australian Retail Association head of marketing Mariela Zaharija.

Expertise Events general manager Zac Fitz-Roy said feedback had been largely positive, signalling an optimistic outlook for 2024.

“It’s been great hearing positive feedback from suppliers and retailers alike. It’s been an opportunity for sales, but importantly to catch up with friends, clients and key industry suppliers under one roof,” he told Jeweller.

Zac Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events
Zac Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events
"It’s been an opportunity for sales, but importantly to catch up with friends, clients and key industry suppliers under one roof."
Zac Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events

“Shaynna Blaze on Saturday was also a great hit. She offered insights into both business and design trends, many of which applied to some topical issues for the jewellery industry.”

Hosted alongside the Gift & Lifestyle Fair, the MJE offered retailers an opportunity to finalise new orders before Valentine’s Day (14 February) and Mother’s Day (12 May).

Fitz-Roy said that while visitors remained cautious about the economy and consumer spending, overall sentiment was positive.

“It will be interesting to see how retail sales track over the coming months,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of talk about tighter conditions, but it seems many are yet to see it really impact”.

Checking the pulse

Exhibitors at the MJE were pleased to report many visitors offered a ‘glass half full’ perspective when discussing plans.

JS Landau's managing director, John Wertheim, said buyers were interested in a surprising variety of products.

“We were very happy with how the fair unfolded. We connected with existing customers and picked up some new ones, which I think is exactly what you’re looking for at an event such as this one,” he told Jeweller.

“The interest among buyers was right throughout our range. We’ve had some interest in the higher-end merchandise, which was great to hear, but quite generally, we offer a wide range of jewellery, and we think everyone found something to buy.”

This sentiment was echoed by Karen Ridikas of Couture Kingdom, who said that retailers were on the hunt for diversity in stock as a way to offer something new to customers.

“Among the retailers we spoke with, they were looking for a real variety of products. There’s a desire to offer new products that expand the interest in their business,” she explained.

“I think there’s a need to create more excitement about their stores; offering something new and different can encourage customers to start spending on jewellery again, given that retail has been slow for some time.”

She said that retailers were particularly interested in the Disney 100th anniversary collection, which is only available for another six months.

“Anything that’s only available for a limited time is always attractive. Overall, it was a good show considering the size – maybe fewer visitors than we expected, but they were quality visitors looking to place orders, which means you're speaking to fewer people, but converting a higher percentage."

Pleasant surprises

Among the crowd was Australiasia’s largest buying group, Nationwide Jewellers. Membership manager Erin Keller said there were many surprising takeaways from the fair.

“We had a very good fair; it exceeded our expectations. We were approached by several prospects and had a few retailers apply for memberships, which is somewhat unusual at a fair. We were delighted,” she told Jeweller.

“You always make connections at industry events, but to receive as many applications as we did was unexpected. We were also approached by a few suppliers based on recommendations from other suppliers, which is pleasing.”

Regarding industry sentiment, Keller agreed with Wertheim and Ridkas and said that retailers appeared optimistic despite the consensus around the economy proving negative.

Erin Keller, Membership manager at Nationwide
Erin Keller, Membership manager at Nationwide
"We had a very good fair; it exceeded our expectations. We were approached by several prospects and had a few retailers apply for memberships, which is somewhat unusual at a fair."
Erin Keller, Nationwide Jewellers

She also reported widespread excitement about Black Friday sales – a relatively new phenomenon in Australia.

Black Friday originates as a retail tradition in the US, beginning on the Friday after Thanksgiving in November and marking the start of the Christmas shopping season.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, retail spending in November ($36.15 billion) exceeded spending in December ($35.19 billion) in seasonally adjusted terms.

ABS analysts suggested that December's drop resulted from consumers spending more in November to take advantage of Black Friday sales.

“Many of the retailers we spoke with said they experienced a downturn over the Christmas period after recording very strong Black Friday sales, which I thought was interesting to hear,” Keller said.

“Black Friday seems to be taking over from Boxing Day. Many retailers said they weren’t expecting to exceed sales targets from the year before but did, and the way the economy is and the climate we are trading in has made many people happy.”

She added: “There was a great deal of industry longevity gathered in one building, people are friends as well as colleagues, and many social things are happening outside the fair itself – a sign of the sense of community within the industry.”

Sunshine State awaits

Industry attention now turns to the Gold Coast for the Australian Jewellery Fair in March. Hosted at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, the fair is scheduled for 24-25 March.

The International Jewellery Fair, the industry’s largest annual gathering, will occur in Sydney on 17-19 August.

For further details and registration information, visit jewelleryfair.com.au.

2024 Melbourne Jewellery Expo

Buyers in Melbourne were on the hunt for a variety of new products. | Source: Expertise Events
Industry sentiment was positive at the Melbourne Jewellery Expo. | Source: Expertise Events
Shaynna Blaze reveals design insights to visitors. | Source: Expertise Events
Philip Bower draws portraits of visitors at the Melbourne Jewellery Expo. | Source: Expertise Events

 

More reading
Industry attention turns to Melbourne Jewellery Expo
Best is yet to come: Strong support for upcoming jewellery fairs
Sales and sunshine: Australian Jewellery Fair heads to Gold Coast
International Jewellery Fair: Change is inevitable, progress is optional
International Jewellery Fair 2023: The Story Continues
International Jewellery Fair 2023: Action-packed opening day
Latest trends capture the spotlight at bustling Australian Jewellery Fair
It’s a sell-out: Industry mood positive ahead of Australian Jewellery Fair
New jewellery trade fair announced; March 2022

 

 











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