Update for JAA Members and the Trade – August 2023

According to data from market and consumer researcher Statista, Australia’s jewellery industry is worth around $4.2bn AUD and is currently growing at a rate of…

According to data from market and consumer researcher Statista, Australia’s jewellery industry is worth around $4.2bn AUD and is currently growing at a rate of around five percent per year. Of course, that pales by comparison with the size of the industry in countries like India ($110bn), China ($104bn) and the US ($87bn), but the Australian jewellery industry earns about twice as much per person as either India or China, though perhaps predictably, less per person as the US. 

If a growth rate of five percent seems high, you’re absolutely right. This is primarily due to the market regaining strength following pandemic setbacks, which had devastating effects on many retailers. Common throughout small businesses, retailers had to quickly pivot to operating online. In 2017, only around 20 percent of the Australian jewellery business was conducted online. By 2023, the proportion had doubled and is predicted to reach almost 50 percent by 2025. 

What does that mean for individuals and small businesses? COVID has generated a step change to business structure–and consequently–employment. Consumers are increasingly comfortable with purchasing online, meaning domestic and international competition will increase. All businesses must focus on minimising overhead costs, whether they like it or not. The good news is that consumers are unlikely to abandon the age-old human desire for adornment, so the jewellery industry is unlikely to fade away soon. 

As a relative newcomer to the JAA board, I have been impressed with the camaraderie I have observed at industry functions. Like the automotive industry, where I worked for some years, the jewellery industry has much to offer – an outlet for creativity and good design, the reward for effective business acumen, and a place for the young to learn from those who’ve gone before and to grow as they accumulate skills and experience. 

I’ve also worked in the mining industry, at the time of Argyle’s heyday. I was able to take advantage of the staff discounts offered on Argyle diamonds and to this day, my favourite piece is a simple gold necklace set with a champagne diamond. I’ve also been on the board of a large Australian franchise company, so I understand some of the factors at play for franchisors and franchisees.

I hope to bring these diverse experiences to benefit the JAA board and its association members. Challenges will arise from increased competition, understanding and managing the changing employment expectations of Gen Z, and coming to terms with the demands of e-commerce. 

The JAA exists to help members navigate these and other challenges. Great industry associations provide support and advice, value-adding services to members, assure compliance with industry standards, and promote the entire industry. 

Like all associations, we will do best when our members get involved – whether by participating in industry events and awards, providing feedback on what additional services would be valued, or learning from those who’ve gone before. 

My years in the automotive industry taught me that two-way communication works best. We at the JAA can best serve the interests of members and the industry when we hear from you – what’s working well, where we need to improve, and what we need to change. Together with my colleagues on the JAA board, I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Meredith Doig,
JAA Director

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