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Tue 29 Jan 2019 09:44 AM

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Tiffany working to increase presence in GCC

Growth will be moderate for branded jewellery in the GCC as local clientele prefer traditional jewellery, according to global CEO Alessandro Bogliolo

Tiffany working to increase presence in GCC
Tiffany & Co global CEO Alessandro Bogliolo.

Jewellery veteran Tiffany & Co is working to increase its presence in the GCC as it is lower in the region when compared to the rest of the world, according to global CEO Alessandro Bogliolo.

Speaking to Arabian Business, the chief executive said that while the region is a key market for the brand, it has struggled with its presence in the GCC, where it has about 11 stores and concessions including seven in the UAE.

“The UAE is an important market for us. We have several stores and… are now looking to expand in the wider GCC region, because for some reason, it has been a little bit slow. Our presence and relevance is lower [in the GCC] than in the rest of the world,” he said.

“In the GCC, you find both a huge tradition for fine jewellery – and Tiffany is definitely a leader in that area - but also you find a vibrant middle class in the UAE and Saudi Arabia particularly. For those customers, Tiffany is definitely a brand of choice,” he added, referring to the brand’s product prices, which start at $250 and are considered affordable when compared to market averages.

Bogliolo also said customers in the GCC are not familiar with the New York brand’s decades-old legacy.

“We have a lot of work to do because there is huge potential and the brand is known, but is not known in its full reach. We have to be better at communicating to GCC customers. People [in the region] hardly know that Tiffany is one of the oldest brands in jewellery. It is 182 years old,” he said.

Regional preferences

One of the reasons behind Tiffany & Co’s slower business in the region is due to regional clients’ preference for unbranded, traditional jewellery, often bought at lower prices in gold and diamond souks across the GCC, according to Joe Nahhas, MENA vice president.

“People are familiar with [Tiffany & Co], but a lot of regional clients make purchases that are more traditional… There’s definitely an opportunity to grow here. The brand is not as established as it is in America,” he said.

However, Nahhas said the brand is witnessing a market shift towards branded jewellery, with its local clientele base growing.

And while global chief Bogliolo said luxury jewellery has particularly had a positive years in terms of sales, growth for branded products will be modest, he said.

“I started working in the industry in the mid-90s and it’s been growing enormously since then. So if we look at 2018, it has been a very positive year. [But] growth for 2019 will be moderate for the key brands, because a lot of jewellery is unbranded, and traditions in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and US are about local jewellery,” he said.

“This is an area of expansion for most key brands in jewellery to increase their market share. For example, in apparel, 100 percent of products are branded, but in jewellery, there is a big portion of unbranded jewellery and this is a huge opportunity for global luxury brands,” Bogliolo added.

In line with its own expansion into the region, Tiffany & Co is opening a new store in Saudi Arabia by 2020, and looking at potential openings in Kuwait, Bahrain and the Levant. It is also working on introducing its e-commerce service to the Gulf, although it did not specify a date as to when online purchases will be made available.

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