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Tue 24 Apr 2007 05:51 PM

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Luxury market needs new strategy

Leaders call for change.

Business leaders have called for a unified marketing strategy to help compete in the worldwide luxury market.

The call came from analysts and industry representatives said at the close of the 5

City of Gold Conference in Dubai yesterday.

Four keynote conference speakers cited the need for prompt action based on a new KPMG study on the future of the USD 146 billion global gems and jewellery industry. The study, commissioned by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC), predicts a drop in the industry's current compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from the current 5.2 per cent to 4.6 per cent over the next 10 years.

The report suggests gems and jewellery will lose ground to other luxury goods. The USD 100 billion luxury apparel market, for example, is estimated to grow at 10 to 15 per cent over the next seven years.

GJEPC Chairman Sanjay Kothari told conference delegates the industry needs to focus its attentions on retail and on consumers by creating emotional connects, inspiring consumer confidence and rethinking the retail experience.

"It is time for retailers to take the initiative to grow the market," Kothari said during the two-day global jewellery meet's closing panel discussion. "We need to look into new markets, identify new segments and new value propositions. Most of all, we need to contribute to creating a single unified global marketing masterplan that we can then tailor to the regions of the world."

Tawhid Abdullah, Managing Director of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, likened both the unified marketing plan and revamped retail operations to a rising tide that lifts all boats.

"We have struggled to do this alone, but the truth is that we need a global marketing body. None of us operates in isolation," Abdullah said. "We need to transform our retail thinking, create role model stores, give people tools they can use to understand the market, create product innovation and, most of all, focus on the emotional value of our products."

Gaetano Cavalieri, President of the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) and Philip Olden, Managing Director, Marketing and Jewellery, World Gold Council, also participated in the closing panel discussion with Abdullah and Kothari.

In mature markets, Kothari said, the industry must look to new segments and identify new uses for precious metals and gems, including integration into luxury electronics. He also recommended an increased focus on jewellery for men, children and the over-65, all non-traditional markets.

The KPMG-GJEPC Vision 2015 industry report also suggests palladium will establish itself as an alternative metal for jewellery fabrication; a change in traditional consumption markets, with China and India emerging as a market equivalent to the United States by 2015, and the rising importance of the Middle East market.

The two-day jewellery meet, organized by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group in association with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, also discussed social responsibility in the gemstone trade and the changing face of gold jewellery marketing during yesterday's special session on marketing.

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