The war in the Gaza Strip is also causing problems for the German jewelry and watch industry. “Everything in the Middle East has been on hold since October 7th,” said the general manager of the Federal Association of Jewellery, Watches, Silverware and Related Industries, Guido Grohmann, to the German Press Agency. Sales almost came to a standstill. “And on a scale that a slightly better Christmas business in Germany could not compensate for,” said Grohmann. "That worries us." According to the information, German manufacturers usually export primarily jewelry to the region, and to a lesser extent watches.
This presents companies with major planning challenges for 2024, said Grohmann. Peace is not in sight any time soon. It is difficult to estimate whether and when a kind of habituation effect will set in - as happened after the start of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine.
The association based in Pforzheim recently reported falling trade figures for the industry as a whole. By the end of the third quarter, jewelry worth 2.14 billion euros had been exported - a decline of 2.9 percent compared to the same period last year. For watches and watch parts it was 2.4 percent to 1.22 billion euros. When it comes to imports, the decline in jewelry in the first nine months was greater at 8.4 percent to 1.51 billion euros than for watches and watch parts at 5.2 percent to 1.71 billion euros.
Nevertheless, Grohmann was confident because 2022 was an “exorbitantly good year”. In comparison, cuts were to be expected. The current numbers are above those of 2021. “So that is still a very high level.” And even back then, business was going better than in 2019.
Grohmann: Invested in wearable values
Because of the corona pandemic, people could not travel as much, explained the managing director. And they didn't park the money in bank accounts because there was no interest back then. That was good for the industry. "The Ukraine war made people invest in sustainable assets." It is unclear whether the conflict will have a similar effect in Israel. Therefore, Christmas business is difficult to predict.
A big topic at the end of the year was sustainability, for example about recycled gold. There is also a hype about synthetic, i.e. artificially produced, diamonds. “It’s not as huge for us as it is in Asia, the Middle East and the USA,” said Grohmann. But the attention also increases interest in this country.
In its trend report for this year, the association also addressed men's jewelry, among other things. Especially when it comes to trend and fashion jewelry, you now see more men wearing bracelets and necklaces, sometimes several at once, said Grohmann.
However, the trend has not been confirmed in the real jewelry sector. The gentleman wears a maximum of three pieces of jewelry: a watch, no matter how expensive, perhaps a wedding ring and some cufflinks. “Then it stops,” said Grohmann. “Nothing will change that.”