NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.
— AUSTRALIA’S jewellery industry has been in a tailspin, with demand dropping by an average of 8.7% last year, according to a new report.
The decline in demand is due in part to a drop in demand from overseas, the report by retail analyst J. Scott Morgan said.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” Mr Morgan told AFP.
Australia has a reputation for having one of the best gemstone supplies in the world, but Mr Morgan said there was a lack of supply in the country.
“[It] is a real challenge, and we have seen it in our industry in the past,” he said.
“People will do anything to make a profit, even though it’s just not working out.”
The drop in sales was most pronounced in the industry’s largest metropolitan area, Sydney, where sales fell by 8.2% to $1.4 billion in the year to September.
In Brisbane, sales fell 7.3% to a record $8.1 billion.
Queensland’s Gold Coast saw its sales fall by 5.4%, while Tasmania’s Hobart and South Australia’s Darwin saw sales decline by 3.4% and 3.1%, respectively.
Brisbane was hit hard by the closure of a jewelry shop in January, with the closure leaving some locals unemployed and forcing businesses to lay off workers.
New South Wales had the lowest sales at $1 billion in September, with Victoria and Queensland both having their worst sales months in recent years.
A total of 7.1 million people were working in the jewelry industry in Australia in 2017, according the latest figures from the Australian Industry Group.
Mr Morgan said he had not heard of a major company doing business in the mining and quarrying industry, although a group of mining companies has already been planning a move into the industry.
This is a challenging industry for Australian employers to survive, he said, adding that a number of the companies he surveyed did not have plans to relocate into the mining industry.
The report comes as the government looks to expand the country’s gold mining industry in response to surging demand.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last week that the mining sector would get $50 million a year from the government, bringing the total investment to $600 million over the next decade.
It is the second mining tax cut in three years and follows an increase in the gold mining levy in the previous tax year to 20 cents a kilogram.