The COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to expand globally, is a challenging test for Thai jewelry businesses. The virus outbreak came after a series of events affecting the world’s economy, such as political unrest in Hong Kong and the trade war between economic giants, China and the United States. Amid an economic downturn that impacts every industry, the real question is, how can businesses deal with changes as the world appears to be sliding into a prolonged recession?
The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in December 2019 and shows no sign of ending, has severely affected the global gem and jewelry industry. Retailers such as Chow Tai Fook, Pandora and LVMH have been forced to close many of their stores in several countries, particularly in China, Hong Kong and Macau. Both Pandora and LVMH, which have shut down several of their stores in China, had a double-digit profit growth in the final quarter of last year. Although their sales have taken a huge hit from the new coronavirus, they remain confident that things will improve and expect sales to recover if the pandemic is brought under control by the end of the year or does not drag on for two years. Additionally, they advise manufacturers to align their inventory to the current demand and keep the level of production low until the market recovers. The low interest rates globally stimulate economic growth and stabilize prices, a positive development as it helps prop up market prices.
While the pandemic impacts the purchasing power of buyers in general, high-quality products are still in demand and purchases continue, although orders appear to have slowed down. This means the market is operating uninterrupted, but manufacturers need to adapt their products to meet current demands.
Being able to cope with a crisis means being able to meet the changing demands of customers. As customer demands become more complicated and complex, a truly customer-focused buying experience matters more now than ever. Whatever challenges ahead, Thai entrepreneurs need to continue to come up with products and work towards sustainable development.
- “2020: A ray of hope for the jewellery trade.” by Bernardette Sto. Domingo. JNA.
- Gem and Jewelry Information Center, the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization)