Jewelers may be “pleasantly surprised” by the upcoming holiday season, James Russo, Nielsen’s vice president of global consumer insights, tells JCK, following the release of the company’s Holiday Sales Survey.
“We feel jewelry could do very respectably this holiday,” says Russo, who says his research shows the industry’s gains will be comparable to last year’s. “Jewelers may be a little surprised on the upside.”
He notes that while electronic products like the iPad are expected to dominate this Christmas, the data shows that jewelry has “across-the-board appeal,” tempting both high-end and middle-income consumers.
But Russo thinks that the demographic profile of the jewelry audience is changing.
According to Nielsen surveys, the consumers who have expressed the greatest preference for jewelry are Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics—more so than Caucasians.
And Russo notes that these multicultural consumers have greater rates of smartphone ownership than Caucasian consumers, so he urges jewelers to invest in mobile marketing.
He also stresses that jewelers have to communicate a “strong message,” that emphasizes both value and quality.
“Value is not just about price,” he says. “Consumers today want multiple need states satisfied. What gets them to the store is value. But what keeps them coming back is definitely quality.”
He notes that consumers remain “very pragmatic.”
“The consumer is very much in control this year,” he says. “They have been dealing with this recession for four years, and continually to carefully watch their spending, watch their balance sheet. They are weighing their decisions very carefully.”