Industry / Retail

We’re Growing! In Switch, More Businesses Now Entering Jewelry Biz Than Leaving It


In the third quarter of 2021, the Jewelers Board of Trade’s (JBT) regular industry statistics  showed something that they hadn’t in years: more businesses entering the jewelry business than exiting it.

The Providence, R.I.–based credit rating group’s annual figures showed that in the third quarter of 2021, 125 new jewelry businesses were formed in North America: 101 retailers, 10 wholesalers, and 14 manufacturers. All but two of those new businesses were formed in the United States; the others were formed in Canada.

By contrast, JBT registered 117 business discontinuances in North America over the third quarter—including 87 retailers, 14 wholesalers, and 16 manufacturers. JBT uses discontinuances as a catchall term for companies that have ceased operations (88 companies), merged and/or consolidated (29 companies), or filed for bankruptcy (zero). All but four of those discontinuances occurred in the United States.

Which means that, for the first time in a very long while, the JBT’s listings registered overall growth, instead of a decline. While an eight-company gain may not be huge, it is a stark reversal from the general pattern of recent years, when the industry shrank by hundreds of businesses every quarter.

Overall, looking at 2021 as a whole, it appears that the industry is continuing to consolidate—if by a lower rate than it did a few years ago. In the first nine months of 2021, 450 North American businesses called it quits (356 retailers, 45 wholesalers, and 49 manufacturers). During the same period, only 286 new North American jewelry businesses were formed (234 retailers, 29 wholesalers, and 23 manufacturers).

The JBT’s year-to-year totals also logged a decline. The credit-rating agency listed 25,304 North American jewelry businesses at the end of the third quarter of 2021, which breaks down to 19,163 retailers (U.S. number: 18,191), 3,671 wholesalers (U.S. number: 3,450), and 2,470 manufacturers (U.S. number: 2,343).

At the end of the third quarter of 2020, JBT listed 25,794 jewelry businesses. That’s a year-to-year drop of 490 companies, or an annual drop of 1.9%.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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By: Rob Bates

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