Jewelry sales grow to $39.8 billion in 2000

While the nation’s economy sputters, American consumers’ appetite for jewelry has not yet slowed, according to the latest market research study from Unity Marketing, The Jewelry Report: The Market, The Industry, The Trends.

In 2000 the consumer market for fine and costume jewelry rose 5% over 1999 levels to total $39.8 billion, according to the report, which is based upon surveys among jewelry companies, jewelry retailers, and active consumers.  

Contributing to the growth in the jewelry market is the expanding availability of jewelry at the retail level. ”Jewelry has become an affordable luxury for fashion-forward women and men, as well as a favorite gift item in all price ranges,” Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, says. ”The jewelry market is becoming more democratic in the past decade, as good quality and high-design jewelry is now available at a much wider range of retailers. After all, Wal-Mart Stores with over $2 billion in jewelry sales in 2000 is now the nation’s largest jewelry retailer.”

While the retail market for jewelry is broadening, jewelry stores still represent the single largest retail channel for jewelry, accounting for nearly 60% of the total retail market.  

Some 43% of the adult population, more than 85 million individuals, bought jewelry in the past year, the report states. Women have a significantly higher purchase incidence of jewelry (48%) compared with men (36%). While men have a lower purchase incidence, they spend significantly more money on their jewelry purchases than women do, and most of their jewelry purchases are gifts.  

As a consumer category, jewelry skews toward younger consumers, with purchase incidence highest among younger adults, ages 18-to-24, and declining as consumers get older, the report reveals. Jewelry stores are the preferred retail source for fine jewelry, while costume jewelry buyers are more likely to make purchases in department stores or at discounters/mass merchandisers.  

The trend toward purchasing jewelry through discounters and mass merchants is particularly noted among the younger consumers, ages 18-to-34 years, according to the report.  

The report reveals the types of jewelry consumers purchase for themselves and for gift giving, where they buy, and how much they spend. It also includes demographic profiles of the target market, based on a survey among a representative sample of 1,000 American households.  

The report includes an analysis of five different consumer segments as characterized by gender and motivations for jewelry purchasing. For example, ”Frances Fashion” makes wearing jewelry a part of her everyday life and leads the largest female consumer segment. ”Catherine Connoisseur,” the knowledgeable fine-jewelry consumer, understands that high-quality jewelry comes with a price-which she is willing to pay. ”Dime-Store Debbie” bases her jewelry purchase decisions on price, not the latest fashion trends or the quality and craftsmanship of the piece.

Male jewelry consumers fall into one of two segments, according to the report: ‘Pete the Personal Indulger’ loves to buy fine jewelry for himself and takes time to select just the right piece for his adornment. ”George the Gifter” feels jewelry is a wonderful gift to give to others.  

The report details retail sales by product line, distribution channels, and product category and presents a snapshot of jewelry manufacturing in the United States.  

The report identifies key trends that will have the greatest impact on sales in the industry now and in the future as well as marketing profiles of the leading U.S.-based jewelry companies and retailers, such as Friedman’s, Lazare Kaplan International, OroAmerica, Tiffany & Co., Michael Anthony Jewelers, Whitehall, and Zale Corp., among others.

It explores trends in jewelry distribution and how specialty retailers are faring against the rising tide of mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart. This more-than-200-page report is available from Unity Marketing for $1,995. Unity Marketing is a marketing research and consulting firm that helps companies unite with their target markets through consumer insights. For more information visit Unity Marketing at www.unitymarketingonline.com.  

More information about this report will be available in the May issue of JCK.