COVID-19: Its effect on our Industry

It seems we are being kicked while we are down... first the bushfires attack the country and leave it in ashes, and now within weeks…
It seems we are being kicked while we are down… first the bushfires attack the country and leave it in ashes, and now within weeks of them being extinguished, the market is dealing with the serious and sudden effects of the global pandemic, Covid-19, or Coronavirus. The Australian jewellery industry has dealt with some tough trading periods over the past few years. There has been consumer uncertainty, the increase of online sales and decrease of foot traffic, and now retail is dealing with some of the toughest economic times in our history. The outbreak of Coronavirus, officially announced on December 31st 2019, started in Wuhan in the east of China. The virus quickly spread to each corner of the earth and was recently announced a pandemic. While we still don’t know the full effect the virus will have, what we do know, is that it has stopped economic growth in its tracks. Coronavirus, although a very mild illness for people under the age of 60, has certainly stopped the global jewellery industry in its tracks, with international trade shows being postponed.
International shows postponed:
Just two of many are: Hong Kong HTDC Jewellery Show and the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show – Postponed until 18th – 21st May. Basel World – Postponed until January 2021. Despite the Federal government calling for social distancing, it is also encouraging Australian’s to work as normal, whether that be at home or in the office. The call out from the government is that we need to protect Australian businesses and slow any effects this virus has on the Australian economy. In theory, this sounds good. However as our industry knows, in any times of uncertainty, Jewellery is hardly the first product people choose to buy. So how do we survive? What crisis management plan does this industry need to put in place to minimise the damage to our businesses?
What can you do now?
For starters, let’s not panic. Jewellery is a timeless and treasured personal statement of an individuals personality. Even in times of hardship, jewellery is prized and protected and will continue to have a place in consumers hearts well after this virus is over. Secondly, pause, and take a look at what you can do right now to protect your business:
  • Are your insurance policies up to date? Do you have income protection insurance?
  • Do you have a plan in place to protect your staff? What is your OHS policy and do you need to amend this in the face of an infection.
  • Is your store or workshop properly secured? In times like these, we may see an increase in crime, so ensuring that you have proper security systems is a must.
  • Does your business have an online store and digital presence? As people leave the house less, they will be online more, so ensuring that you can still communicate with them is imperative.
It is important that as a community we stick together and ensure that we do as much as possible to weather this set back that will of course end at some point. And as we know, the most beautiful of diamonds, were created under the most extreme pressure, so hang in there and be like a diamond!
Further reading:
Cash flow assistance for Business – Feeling anxious about the outbreak? – Control what you can. –