Swarovski is planning to double its above-the-line marketing spend in the next two years in a bid to increase its jewellery sales around the world.
Speaking to Jewellery World during his visit to Sydney last week, Robert Buchbauer, the CEO of Swarovski’s consumer goods business, said the fifth-generation family-owned company will increase its above-the-line advertising spend to “almost 10 per cent of total expenditure” due to “dramatic changes in the retail landscape”.
“In the past 10 we’ve managed to establish a strong store presence in the most important locations in the world with stores on the High Street but the competitive landscape has changed and stand-alone stores are no longer enough to build the brand and attract customers.
“There are more players in the market and therefore if you want to be heard you’ve got to make a noise.”
Buchbauer, the great-great grandson of Swarovski founder Daniel Swarovski, said the increased push into above-the-line advertising would capitalise on the popularity of the brand’s new ambassador, Miranda Kerr.
In Australia, where the brand occupies the No 1 spot in unaided brand recognition for ‘crystal’ but resides at No 6 in unaided brand recognition for ‘jewellery’, the increased advertising budget will include the launch of the brand’s first television commercial and sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia as well as advertising on street furniture and signage in Westfield shopping centres.
Buchbauer, who was in Sydney primarily to personally farewell and thank Max Kirchler, the managing director of Swarovski Australia from 2012 to 2013, for his 35 years of service to the company, also told Jewellery World that the company is planning to move “beyond fashion jewellery” into the fine jewellery market.
“We are number one in the international fashion jewellery market, but we want to strengthen our position by reaching out into the fine jewellery market,” he said.
“We have already done this with a pilot range in China and plan to develop it further and ultimately roll it out as an international concept.
“I think one of the biggest trends in the jewellery market is the convergence of jewellery categories.
“Fine jewellery retailers care about what materials are used in jewellery manufacturing but people are buying an emotional item not a commodity so we are now, for example, seeing
designs that combine crystal stones with 18 carat gold.”
He also revealed that the company has begun “looking at recycled jewellery” as a product option.
“This is a totally new concept for us but something that we feel needs to be looked at particularly since so many potential customers already own so much jewellery.”
Despite Buchbauer’s enthusiasm for opportunities that may arise due to changing consumer wants and needs, he stressed that irrespective of the materials used in a jewellery design “quality is something that cannot be compromised”.
Swarovski currently has approximately 2350 stores around the world.
In Australia the company has 37 boutiques, 2 kiosks, 10 concessions and four factory outlets while in New Zealand it has four boutiques and one concession.
* Pictured above is Swarovski CEO Robert Buchbauer