Vicenzaoro January (VOJ) 2023 experienced record visitor attendance levels this week, up by 11.5% in comparison with the previous record edition in 2020.

Over 1,300 brands exhibited at the trade show, with visitors attending from 136 countries – led by the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

Now the trade fair will focus on improving the show’s extensive offering to represent and support the whole supply chain, while refreshing the Vicenza Expo Centre with a more welcoming look which is more responsive to the needs of a community that has made Vicenza its reference point.

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Foreign buyers at this year’s January edition more than doubled in comparison with the winter edition hosted in September of 2022 and attendance was recorded at an all-time high – 11.5% higher than in January 2020 despite VOJ 2023 being one day shorter.

Attendance from Italian regions also showed an increase of over 20% in comparison with pre-pandemic years.

Event director Marco Carniello summarised his three highlights from VOJ 2023: “Part of hosting the biggest show we have ever had, I will say, means the world is getting back to Vicenzaoro. The visitor numbers which we are seeing is really proof of the work we have done, especially during COVID.

“We managed to keep being relevant, we retained our community and guests throughout the COVID years and now we’re seeing the results of all this work.

“We have 7,000-8,000 new visitors this year that we acquired during COVID times. It’s wonderful.

“Secondly, we are now getting to grips with certain projects that we launched a few years ago –especially VO Vintage which was started in 2020.

“With the end of COVID, now VO Vintage is really picking up.

“If you go up to the first floor, you can really feel that this is not just a wave, this is something structural that is growing because it’s matching a demand: a demand for vintage watches and jewellery, but also a demand for culture… for a different kind of show.

“There’s plenty of people from different platforms that are having fun with a glass of champagne and exchanging comments on the watches.

“This is the typical atmosphere that we really want to create, to become something really unique in terms of tools or platforms that people can use to exchange information or build relationships.

“And then obviously, we are investing in applications. More of the industry is on the web, and we are much more powerful than before in spreading our news and engaging with people.

“But in the end, we really need to make these experiences into an ‘experience’ (with emphasis) – this is something we are seeing in VO Vintage.

“The third thing is the fact that, in the past, Vicenzaoro was very much focussed on Made in Italy and production.

“Now we’ll be working in the coming years on becoming relevant and more complete: representing the whole supply chain.

“So technology is getting bigger. Gems are getting bigger – with diamonds. Production has always been bigger, it has been a core of the show for four years. The brands section is also getting better and better.

“Many people say: ‘Thanks to Baselworld, now you are getting more brands.’

“In reality, we’re not getting many more brands because most of these brands were already here.

“What changed is the fact that now we are working with them and communicating better.

“Buyers of these brands are coming to Vicenzaoro because they see that our offering is now complete and well presented.

“There is a lot of efficiency in finding everything from technology, gems, production and brands at Vicenzaoro within two or three days.

“And this is something where now we are building our strengths and our competitive advantage.”

International innovation showcase, T Gold, saw a 10% increase in exhibition space, presenting the most advanced jewellery machinery and the latest processes applied to gold and jewellery (organised in partnership with AFEMO).

When asked what he thinks can be improved upon for future editions, Carniello said: “Every edition, we need to change and keep improving.

“So first of all, I continuously need to adjust the formats of all my categories, to ensure that the weight of every single segment is matching the real demand of my visitors.

“I see more potential in services, including machinery, equipment and tools.

“Physical shops are providing more and more services to consumers, where consumers would otherwise go online.

“But, to provide services, they need to have a workshop with equipment and tools. This area goes together with the technology and is something that I’d like to make bigger – or at least better.

“On the other side, we will continuously push to include an innovation area where you have, for instance, the Design Room where there’s more rotation with new things.

“A place where you go and you’re sure to find something new and something that is creating some kind of inspiration.

“Every segment has to have that inspirational part that is pushing people to try something different, or consider a different approach to what they were doing before.”

Education was a big consideration for Italian Exhibition Group and a key focus of the opening ceremony.

In partnership with local governing bodies, VOJ hosted groups of school children to provide them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the jewellery industry and connect with leading brands and designers – building a passion for the craft and encouraging education in the sector.

The edition’s programme of events also included key seminars from Dior Joaillerie and Trendvision, confirming VOJ’s commitment to training the new generations of goldsmiths with important and international initiatives.

Carniello added: “Education is going to be one of our pillars in the next years.

“We are providing new business to our clients: exhibitors and visitors. We are providing information to the sector through our show content. We are providing networking opportunities. Even if it looks random, it is not.

“But the four pillars are education.

“We think that a big organiser like us – trade fairs with these big communities – should push on the educational side.

“Every one of us is hungry for education. That can be online or here in person.

“We believe that in the future, and now, people will join trade fairs not only to buy but also to learn.

“And why not?

“They are professionals and they can come here to get a certificate to be a better salesman in a boutique or a better gemmologist, etc.

“So the education is definitely an area where we’re going to invest more and more.”

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