Report says second quarter jewelry sales up 4.3%

Consumer desire to buy jewelry, a key product category in the luxury products mix, is strong and growing in 2002, according to the latest market research study from Unity Marketing, Stevens, Pa.

Out of the jewelry industry’s total $39.5 billion in retail sales in 2001, jewelry stores account for some 54% of total sales, according to The Jewelry Report, 2002: The Market, The Competitors, The Trends. As a result, jewelry store sales are a key indicator of the overall health of the industry.

Second quarter 2002 sales are up 4.3% ahead of last year’s figures, explains Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. In the first quarter, sales were up a modest .7% over 2001. Danziger says that these numbers clearly show that “consumers are satisfying a pent up demand for jewelry that should yield strong industry growth in 2002.”

“Reviewing the past two years’ performance of jewelry store sales, last year jewelry store sales were up a staggering 5.9% over 2000, but then they started to stagnate as the economic slowdown took hold. Store sales dropped even further in the third quarter after the 9-11 tragedy. But toward the end of the fourth quarter 2001, jewelry store sales began to rebound,” Danziger, says.

A recent consumer survey included in the report illuminates the strong consumer demand for jewelry, Danziger says.

“Half of all U.S. households bought jewelry in the past year, with some 39% of households buying fine jewelry, defined as jewelry made from precious or semiprecious stones, 14k gold and above, sterling silver or platinum, and 31% buying costume jewelry, jewelry not composed of precious materials,” she says. “Fine jewelry in particular is a passion for the high income households which spend over two times the national average on fine jewelry.”

While jewelry stores remain the primary source for fine jewelry in the U.S. today, the mass merchants are capturing a greater share of consumer jewelry spending, Danziger says. Today Wal-Mart is the nation’s number one jewelry retailer with estimated jewelry and watch sales of $2.3 billion. Zale Corp., a leading specialty jewelry retailer, on the other hand, posted sales of $2.1 billion in 2001. With 20% of fine jewelry consumers reporting they made purchases at mass merchants, their buying is boosting not just Wal-Mart but Kmart, Target and Costco into the ranking of the nation’s top 20 jewelry retailers, she says.

The Jewelry Report 2002 also includes an analysis of two jewelry retail samples: independent jewelers and chain stores. “The business of jewelry retailing is markedly different from the perspective of the independent jeweler as compared with the chain jewelry store,” Danziger says. “The independents carry more fashion jewelry and feature a wider range of non-jewelry gift products, while the chains focus on only a few product categories, notably the diamond bridal market.”

The report is available for $2,250 ($1,995 subscriber’s discount) from Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting and research firm that advises clients on how consumers’ drives and motivations impact shopping behavior, in order that clients can maximize their marketing and branding initiatives. For more information, contact Pam Danziger, Unity Marketing, 188 Cocalico Creek Road, Stevens, PA 17578; telephone (717) 336-1600; fax (717) 336-1601; www.unitymarketingonline.com; e-mail: pam@unitymarketingonline.com.