DPS: Retailers Predict “Modest” Christmas

A couple of things struck me after yesterday’s Diamond Promotion Service breakfast:

– Trade expectations are down. Retailers only expect a 5.6% gain this Christmas, which is the lowest set of expectations since 2002. (“We would interpret this to mean that retailers are expecting a tough Christmas, with modest gains,” says David Sisson of JWT.) And to be honest, even that number seems high to me. It looks like the gain will again be driven by a jump in average price rather than number of pieces sold. But how do things like the jump in the gold price factor in that?

– A lot was made of the threat diamond jewelry faces from electronics. So check out these “Seize the Day” taglines:

“Battery life? Forever.”
“You won’t need a memory card for this Christmas to be remembered.”
“No tech support required.”
“A lot of gifts start with ‘I’ – but only one ends with ‘love you.’” (IPODs — get it?)

This is the first time I remember the industry taking on another product category — and in such a sustained way. Another ad line talks about diamonds being formed for “millions of years” — a little stab at lab-grown stones?

– The people from “Spotrunner” gave a presentation that included a TV spot for “right hand rings,” the first one I have seen. Many tradespeople still wonder why the DPS has not done a TV commercial for right hand rings, which they have been pushing for several years now; the one they showed was not as “edgy” as some of the print ads, but seemed okay.   JWT says the RHR category has grown 10%, but I guess that depends on your definition. Have sales of the pieces they are advertising jumped 10% — or just fashion rings in general?

“Journey” jewelry looks like it’s going to do well again, as well it should; it’s a well-done campaign. (Commercial here.) There does seem to be an effort to get the trade to sell it as something other than a necklace.  And the past present future three stone category is still growing — truly amazing.

Anyway, there was much that was impressive about the presentation – the upcoming “Movie Rocks” campaign in Conde Nast magazines, was a cool touch — but the preview of the DPS Christmas commercial, which features a couple riding in a car, holding hands, and giving each other “Journey” jewelry (full description here), did seem a little, oh, typical. But to be fair, we didn’t see a finished version, just a rough cut.

I’d be interested in other people’s impressions. You can see the jewelry the DPS will advertise at dps.org. (Remember, for all the talk about marketing in our industry, the DPS easily remains the trade’s most important advertiser.). Other descriptions of the event can be seen here, here, and here.

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JCK News Director