Where Do We Go From Here?
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every part of the diamond supply chain. As markets reopen with the virus still lingering, there is a consensus that a new normal has been established, even as it continues to evolve.
The world is a different place than it was pre-pandemic, and the changes are likely to remain after things return to some version of normalcy, however long that takes. It is important to recognize what those changes are and how the industry is adapting, or being forced to adapt. This includes how consumers relate to our product, how we sell diamonds at the retail level, what volume of goods is necessary to fill demand, and how that impacts the wholesale and dealer market as well as manufacturing and mining.
It’s very difficult to make reliable projections for demand in 2020 and beyond. We simply don’t know how consumers are going to respond to the post-coronavirus economy, especially while unemployment remains at record highs in the US and the rest of the world. However, some things are within our control, and there is a lot we can learn from the business trends and consumer behavior that emerged in the first half of the year.
In that spirit, Rapaport hosted the Recovery Webinar Series over the past four weeks, featuring guests from various sections of the industry. Our aim was to tackle the impact of the pandemic from multiple perspectives: supply, demand, marketing, branding and retail. Guests and topics included:
• Sally Morrison, director of public relations at De Beers’ consumer brands division, on “Branding and the Luxury Market in the Covid-19 Era”
• David Kelly, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), on “Marketing Our Way Out of Crisis”
• Elle Hill, CEO of jewelry consultancy firm Hill & Co., on “How Covid-19 Will Transform the Jewelry Store”
• Eira Thomas, CEO of Lucara Diamond Corp., on “How the Pandemic Has Changed the Diamond Pipeline”
In addition, Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, presented his annual “State of the Diamond Industry” address in webinar format, since the JCK Las Vegas show did not take place as usual this year.
The June Rapaport Research Report, published on Thursday, presents the key findings from each of those webinars, offering a pathway to recovery for the diamond industry. No one has a crystal ball that can predict demand. But there are clear developments that have taken root during the Covid-19 period. Recognizing and understanding those empowers us to be proactive in navigating the crisis and to formulate an economic model that will shape our industry moving forward.