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With the right balance of design, price point and consumer engagement, European jewellery brands continue their invasion Down Under. | Source: Adobe Stock
With the right balance of design, price point and consumer engagement, European jewellery brands continue their invasion Down Under. | Source: Adobe Stock

Euro Thrash

How many American jewellery brands can you name compared to European brands? Coleby Nicholson explores why Australia and NZ will see more EuroBrands marching Down Under. 

Name two or three famous American jewellery brands. Apart from Tiffany, they don’t roll off your tongue that easily, do they?

Now name two or three famous European brands. Much easier, right?

In fact, name two or three Danish or French brands. Slow down, I only asked for two or three!

You see my point, there’s plenty to name. I realised a few years ago that although the US leads the world in most consumer categories, jewellery isn’t one of them.

The rest of the world may march to the beat of America’s drum when it comes to music, fashion, fast food, electronics, sportswear, television and a swathe of other areas, however, when it comes to high-end or even mass market jewellery, the US doesn’t count.

I guess that’s why US trade fairs aren’t as popular for Australian and New Zealand buyers as the Asian and European shows are. It’s interesting that the US is not dominant in jewellery given its predisposition to lead the world in most other consumer categories.

Yes, there are a few well-known brands like Chamilia (though often people aren’t aware of its American lineage), Tiffany and Harry Winston but when it comes to jewellery styles and fashions, Australia has traditionally looked towards Europe.

The European brands have dominated the local market recently and, some would argue, transformed it with their relentless marketing and branding, changing the way the game is played locally.

"The European brands have dominated the local market recently and, some would argue, transformed it with their relentless marketing and branding, changing the way the game is played locally."

Perhaps, generally speaking, US jewellery designs are too loud for the average Australian consumer and more suited to their own market rather than, say, Danish designs.

I’ve asked many times why people think that Scandinavian designs are so popular and common answers include ‘clean’ and ‘simple’.

Of course, it’s not only the Danes that have been successful in Australia (Pandora, Lovelinks, Ole Lynggaard, Skagen, Trollbeads, Georg Jensen, Spinning Jewelry, etc), other parts of Europe have had enormous success in recent times. From Germany (Thomas Sabo), Belgium (Ice Watch), Swarovski (Austria), the Euro brands have marched east as they looked to expand their markets.

And there’s more Euro brands on the way!

I receive at least five emails every week from international brands wanting information about Australia. While many enquiries are from India and Asia, the serious enquiries are from European brands as they focus away from Europe.

Indeed, we will be reporting on one or two new, and exciting, Euro brands entering the local market in the comings weeks!

But why does Australia feature so prominently?

Well, an obvious reason is that companies closely monitor competitors and when one brand sees that its competitor has been successful overseas, they want to follow suit for their slice of the pie.

Other reasons include Australia’s stable political system which makes it an easy place to do business. We also have an industry that is not dominated by jewellery chains; there are plenty of independents jewellery stores to do business with.

More recently the rest of the world came to realise Australia was relatively unaffected by the global financial crisis, so it made sense to expand into a strong economy rather than a weak one. Stemming from that is the fact there seemed little sense in the Euro brands expanding into a neighbouring country where the economy is – not to put too fine of a point on it – stuffed!

Also, while Australians and Kiwis recognise that we have small populations by world standards we are, however, larger than many of the smaller European countries. Denmark and Austria have populations of six million and eight million respectively while Sweden and Belgium have around 10 million each.

There are a number of others reasons why the Euro brands are successful, and while some in the industry may rejoice in one or two recently losing their ‘shine’, (temporarily, I believe) the message is clear: local Aussie and Kiwi suppliers who do not shape up to the competition will be Euro thrashed!











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