Despite the omicron variant, the jewelry industry’s stockings overflowed with cheer during the 2021 holiday, with jewelry sales rising 32% over the prior year, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, the retail sales measurement service.
Even more impressive, jewelry sales rose 26% over the pre-COVID-19 holiday of 2019. Jewelry showed the strongest annual growth of all the categories surveyed by SpendingPulse.
The jewelry numbers far outpace SpendingPulse’s estimate for retail sales overall. The group found that holiday sales across-the-board in 2021 rose an impressive 8.5% over 2020 and 11% over 2019. SpendingPulse considers the holiday shopping season as Nov. 1–Dec. 24.
The SpendingPulse index has shown strong jewelry sales for most of 2021. However, it’s worth noting that, historically, SpendingPulse hasn’t always been so bullish on the jewelry category. In 2008, it said that jewelry sales had suffered an “extreme decline.”
Other trends that SpendingPulse noted during the 2021 holiday:
– Continued growth in e-commerce. Nearly 21% of 2021’s holiday sales—or one-fifth of the total—were conducted online, up from 20.6% in 2020 and a 14.6% growth from pre-pandemic 2019. In 2021, e-commerce sales increased 11% over 2020’s and 61% over 2019’s.
– Consumers shopped early. U.S. consumers shopped earlier than they have traditionally, continuing a pattern that first showed up in 2020. This was helped by retailers offering early special promotions as well as special “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping offers.
– Thanksgiving weekend remained key. As usual, Black Friday was the top spending day of the 2021 holiday season.
Mastercard SpendingPulse’s findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard credit card network, along with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.
“Consumers splurged throughout the season,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and the former CEO and chairman of Saks Fifth Avenue, in a statement, “with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best-dressed foot forward.”
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