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Regal Imports News for JUNE 2019

What do consumers want?

Do they want to buy locally or prefer online?

Are they drawn to major brands or looking for something more individual?

Are carbon footprints, sustainability and origin important to every buying experience?

Are disposable products depreciating long term value?

How much is the high cost of living changing buying priorities?

The only way to answer these questions is to ask consumers directly. Big corporations hire consultants to report on general consumer trends. High level corporate management almost never interact with end consumers. Corporate management has been taught that they can create consumer demand. Corporate advertising decisions are usually top down and have less to do with consumer's requirements than corporate objectives.

The Diamond Producers Association has produced many reports defending the diamond industry from its many detractors. Ya'akov Almor of IDEX posed this question, "Are any of these documents the result of the DPA's conversation with the consumer? I cannot find any proof that the consumer has asked for any of this . I truly hope that in a next round, our industry may welcome a . forward-looking report about the DPA's conversation with the consumer."

The diamond industry consists of an army of frontline retailers that are in constant face to face contact with consumers. I wonder how often any of these very important industry participants have been consulted by, for example De Beers, for the important information that they have at their fingertips.

Did De Beers look for industry consultation before introducing their, now defunct, diamond buyback program? Large diamond corporations jump into ventures and promotional schemes that effect all industry participants and, more often than not, the results of these schemes are negligible or even destructive. Wouldn't it be constructive if industry experts just stopped lecturing and dictating and just started listening?

The technical revolution has given consumers a new and important voice. Consumers can change the fortune of movie stars, politicians and specialty brands instantaneously. Corporate industry needs to turn full circle and understand that they are no longer in control of the message.

The only way for industry to become more relevant is to stop leading the conversation and start listening. Corporation executives need to extend themselves personally into the market. The technical revolution has affected the way consumers buy. The logical direction for corporations, like De Beers and Alrosa, is to encourage personal interaction. That does not mean selling directly to consumers but rather a different form of vertical integration. A form of integration that does not compete with downstream industry but uses the full force of industry resources to further a common goal.

Consumers will no longer be told how much they need to spend on an engagement ring when they are questioning the need for an engagement ring in the first place. Direct to consumer corporate initiatives, like 'Forevermark' or the new Alrosa scheme to sell Russian origin diamonds direct to the consumer, are fracturing the diamond value message. It is simply misguided to pit a corporation against the health of the entire industry. The corporate diamond world very much needs a change of direction and that change needs to be inclusive rather than isolationist.

Mel Moss