The Venetian and Sand Expo, the site the 2021 JCK Show in Las Vegas.
Unlike its regular time slot at the end of May and beginning of June, the show will uncharacteristically take place this year in the full heat of summer, from August 27 to 30, at the Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo.
It’s likely to be a somewhat subdued affair, with considerably fewer overseas visitors and exhibitors expected most because of COVID-related travel restrictions, some imposed by the U.S. government and others by the authorities in the different countries. But, after a torrid 2020 when the trade fair was cancelled entirely, it will be a welcome return to a semblance of normal.
The Reed Jewelry Group, the show organizers, are actively working to dispel recurrent rumors that the holding of the event is in any doubt.
“JCK is very much looking forward to reuniting the jewelry industry safely in person after more than two years without an opportunity for retailers to explore JCK, Luxury, and Jewelry Week in Las Vegas,” wrote Sarin Bachmann, group vice president for Reed Jewelry Group. “We know how important it is for the industry to get back to business, restock cases, discover what is new, and be ready for another very strong holiday season.”
HEALTH AND SAFETY AT THE SHOW
Nevada, the state in which Las Vegas is located, has been a COVID hotspot, with a more than a 16 percent positive rate in the current rate wave of infections, and a ranking of 33 among the 50 U.S. states in terms of vaccinations. As of the beginning of August, more than 55 percent of Nevadans had been either partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — including 45 percent fully vaccinated.
While Nevada’s governor only imposed an indoor mask mandate for counties with high COVID rates on August 5, Reed Exhibitions has been touting a considerably stricter health and safety policy for the show for several months already.
All individuals attending the show will be required to wear a face covering, although they will not be asked to provide proof of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests before entering the facility. Designated “safety ambassadors” will be walking the show floor to ensure all guidelines are being followed.
The Venetian hotel, which operates the exhibition halls, has instituted additional measures to improve air quality. The air-conditioning system is now using hospital-grade filtration, and has increased the flow of outdoor fresh air into the building, while lessening the amount of air that is recirculated.
Tmall Luxury providesa platform for premium and luxury brands within Alibaba’s business-to-consumer site Tmall. It reaches out to the China’s fast-growing community of super wealthy online shoppers.
Exhibitors at JCK have been requested to take health and safety into consideration when designing their exhibition space. This includes maximizing physical distance between exhibitor staff and visitors to the extent possible, providing sanitizer to clients, and controlling the scale, size and timing of meetings or gatherings to avoid creating crowds.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THE MARKET
What many are pinning their hopes on is the general sense that the current state of the U.S. jewelry market is healthy.
According to figures compiled by Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data, U.S. jewelry sales rose by 41 percent from January through May 2021 to total $32 billion, from $22 .7 billion during the same five month in 2019, before the start of the COVID crisis. This trend is confirmed by the Natural Diamond Council, which has reported that diamond jewelry sales increased 30 percent from March through May 2021, when compared to the same three months two years ago.
The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence in the United States at the end of July was at its highest level since February.
“Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting economic growth in Q3 is off to a strong start,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook didn’t waver, and they continued to expect that business conditions, jobs, and personal financial prospects will improve.”
American consumer spending should continue to support robust economic growth in the second half of 2021, Franco added. That is good news for all in the jewelry industry, but especially those who will be flying to Las Vegas at the end of August for the JCK Show.