Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard talks about the changes at Baselworld. He also shares his views on how the watch industry is experiencing a rapid shift.
Mr Scheufele, during the past weeks, Baselworld announced many new concepts and measures for the 2019 edition. What are your expectations of the show?
It is important for us that the basic requirements of the exhibitors are being taken care of: the overall experience, hospitality and working conditions for the trade and the press must be perfect in all aspects. We have repeatedly made remarks in recent years, and now the changes are actually being implemented. Baselworld must offer a platform in keeping with today’s standards in order to deserve the leading position. I am very eager to see how the show will present itself with the new environment and fewer exhibitors and also how the visitor and customer figures will develop. I know that everything is being done to create an attractive design for the show and I believe the signs are promising. After all, I am expecting a good response to the changes: the new infrastructure, for instance, will enable representatives of the media to carry out their press and public relations work better, more efficiently and in a more pleasant manner. The agreements made with the hotel trade also appear very promising. In my opinion, another positive development is the offer of a stage and an event area on the second floor of Hall 1 that gives companies an opportunity to present themselves. A lot has been done to create more convenient and more efficient conditions and the new show management has already achieved a great deal in this respect. As I see it though, Baselworld will still be in a state of transition in 2019: The show will face the major challenge in 2020, but here too are some very promising visions.
The industry is undergoing rapid changes, too. How do you perceive them? Where do they have the strongest impact?
The watch and jewellery industry as well as the exhibitors at Baselworld use different distribution channels – either exclusively via specialist retailers or additionally through monobrand boutiques and possibly in e-commerce. In this respect, every brand has a different strategy, and Baselworld has to take account of the various needs. The most important aspect is to remain attractive for visitors and draw in an additional public. The whole industry faces a restructuring process. The challenge will lie in winning the young generation who prefer to shop digitally. In addition, today, some companies need to stage presentations throughout the year – not only at Baselworld. The contact with business partners used to be the key factor during the show, but now it is also necessary to communicate with the end users, bloggers and influencers.
How do you deal with these changes? How do you address them and how is this reflected in your products and through your distribution channels?
We are very active digitally and are exploiting all media and channels. At the same time, we remain attached to the classic media and communication. For us as a luxury brand including the new media is absolutely essential. This is particularly so for companies with a presence on markets such as China, where the share and pace of digital activities is much greater than in Europe. With regard to our products, we are also trying to appeal to a younger generation by reinterpreting, for example, jewellery classics such as our Happy Diamonds, Happy Sports and Ice Cube collections.
Source: Baselworld Newsletter