Yes, it’s only the middle of January, but the countdown is already on for Baselworld. Being the world’s largest show for watches and jewellery will do that, and there is a lot to look forward to with the industry’s major annual event. There are also many questions to answer, too.
These days, both the watch and jewellery industries are dealing with similar circumstances. One of those is the increasing consolidation of the market, in terms of production and marketing, and also through the challenges and opportunities brought on by digital technology.
Partially in response to those trends, Baselworld 2018 will be a denser show. To begin with, the exhibition will be shortened by two days, now running for only six days in total. That might help with the relatively short attention spans of our millennial generation, but we can’t be sure.
The number of exhibiting companies will also be reduced to half of what it was last year, to somewhere between 600 and 700. As a result, the exhibition venue space will be reduced by about one third. Any way you cut it, those are significant changes.
It’s interesting to read in the official press release that the “show does not rely on quantity” and will rather focus on being a leading “quality” event for premier global brands.
However, major brands like Hermès and Dior will not participate this year, with Hermès opting to exhibit at the 2018 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva earlier in the year.
Still, in a demonstration that the show’s organizers are willing to adapt to a changing industry – and indeed the needs of the brands – this year the concept for the show was to a greater extent developed in closer cooperation with the most important exhibitors.
The idea is to make the show more focused and more forward-looking. That means adapting the relatively traditional trade show into an expanded communications and marketing platform. In practice, that will include new forms of real-time digital communication.
As always, we will be covering the build-up to the show, as well as the follow up, to dissect these latest development. Stay tuned.