COMMENTARY: Smaller Baselworld still has big impact
By David Brough
BASEL, Switzerland, March 24, 2019 – Baselworld has shrunk this year, but retains huge relevance on the rapidly shifting jewellery trade fair calendar.
Baselworld, long criticised for being out of touch with exhibitors, has shown this year that it is responding increasingly to the requirements of both exhibitors and buyers.
The scaled-back show has retained its glamour and branding verve, although it lacked the energy running through previous editions, and footfall appeared to be lighter than in better times.
Many exhibitors privately expressed loyalty to the show and said they would be back next year.
The re-formulated schedule for next year, which will see a prolonged series of buying opportunities – SIHH swiftly followed by Baselworld, GemGenève and the high-value Geneva auctions – will create a convoluted offering for the capacity of buyers but may eliminate the need for two trips to Switzerland.
Some buyers may choose a trip to SIHH and then Baselworld, while others may go to GemGenève together with the magnificent jewellery auctions.
Few will attend all of the events, as that would mean spending well over two weeks away from home.
Some of the gem exhibitors, who are this year showcasing their goods at both Baselworld and GemGenève, said they may have to choose between the events next year, while, depending on demand, GemGenève may ultimately have the option to hold a November edition alongside the magnificent jewellery auctions in Geneva.
The slim Baselworld reinforces the rising importance of the Hong Kong shows on the global jewellery trade fair calendar, with much of the buying power in jewellery, gems and watches extending eastwards as economies such as China and India expand.