Global health officials estimate the coronavirus outbreak is responsible for 1,300 deaths worldwide as of Thursday the 13th, and its effects are rippling through the global economy.
The current outbreak originated in the Wuhan province of China with symptoms similar to the common cold, like fever and cough, but more severe symptoms can develop, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure.
There are more than 60,000 confirmed cases, which have spread from mainland China to 25 other countries and territories.
As the casualty count rises, areas of China have been on lockdown and additional screening measures are underway in airports worldwide in an attempt to contain the virus.
The disease is impacting industries worldwide, including luxury brands, which depend heavily on Chinese consumers today.
Investment group Jefferies estimated Chinese buyers made up about 40 percent of the €281 billion ($306 billion) spent on luxury goods worldwide in 2019 and drove 80 percent of the growth, as per a report from the Financial Times.
Here’s how the outbreak, which started at the end of December, has affected the luxury industry so far.
In an effort to contain the outbreak, jewelry trade show organizers are moving and canceling shows, and taking extra precautions for those events scheduled to go on as planned.
The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl show and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, both scheduled for March, have been moved to May.
The AEC Gems & Jewelry Presidents’ Summit, which is held by the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Associations, has been postponed as well to a soon-to-be-announced date.
Swatch cancelled its “Time to Move” event, scheduled for late February/early March in Zurich, Switzerland, in order to “prevent their partners from travelling internationally in an insecure climate.
And Alrosa announced last week that it would be relocating its March auction of special-size rough diamonds from Hong Kong to Moscow.
In contrast, the organizers of the upcoming Bangkok trade show will not be changing their plans because of the outbreak.
The 65th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair, scheduled for Feb. 25-29 at the Impact, will go on as scheduled.
In a letter shared with National Jeweler, Somdet Susomboon, director general of Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion, outlined what the country is doing, and will do, to ensure visitors’ health and safety during the show.