How Optimistic Should Jewelers Be This Holiday Season?

How optimistic should jewelers be this holiday season? Opinions throughout the industry have varied.

“I feel quite optimistic about this holiday selling season, says Calla Gold, owner of Calla Gold Jewelry in Santa Barbara, Calif. “The vibe is hopeful.”

In Gold’s store, more and more consumers have looked to refurbish their older, meaningful pieces of jewelry, and give them out as gifts this holiday. After polishing or repairing the jewelry and packaging it in a new gift box, she has suggested the person tell an important family story about the piece to show the recipient how much he or she means to them.

“There is income in helping people do this,” says Gold. “Not as much as selling something new, but it also builds the client-jeweler relationship.”

In a recent forecast, New Canaan, Conn.-based Customer Growth Partners expects retails sales to increase 6.5 percent in November and December, the most rapid growth since 2004.

Commenter Bruce Schacter felt optimistic, but also felt that “their predictions that this year’s holiday sales will show a dramatic increase, may only apply to the luxury/high end of the jewelry market.” Another commenter summed up the skepticism this forecast generated perfectly, commenting that people “gotta wonder about their position on the tooth fairy and Santa.”

JCK senior editor Rob Bates’ Cutting Remarks blog post How’s Christmas Shaping Up, finds that the mood in New York City is “terrible,” and jewelers he spoke didn’t expect a banner holiday, but only a “few expect a terrible one.”

Elsewhere in the country, there seemed to be great disparity in opinions about the holiday. “Constant traffic in the store started right after the kids were settled into school,” a Midwest retailer said in the comment section. “Our high-end clients seem to be coming back back in, fingers crossed it continues.” Commenter Lisatru62, on the other hand, said sales right now are “quiet as a church mouse.”

Barbara Mooty, a marketing specialist, suggests jewelers should properly thank customers if the optimistic forecasts turn out to be true.

“Retailers could mix it up this year with a ‘gift with purchase’ thank you to their clients,” says Mooty. “They overlook the sincere thank you since so many are intently focused on ringing the cash register.”

Mooty says the gift can be as simple as a bag—ideally adorned with the store’s logo—of caramel popcorn or homemade cookies. Jewelers could offer the gift with purchase on their social media accounts for a limited time only, without any lead-in advertising prior to the announcement. The idea would not only generate a buzz, but also give jewelers a chance to see if their social media efforts are generating responses. She does, however, caution jewelers to make the gift available only for in-store purchases to avoid shipping hassles. 

“No one would ever expect a little thank you like this,” she says. “People talk about gifts, and this is the gift-giving season.”

One of our commenters also handed out some good advice all jewelers would be wise to remember in the coming month:

“Our company is five generations old. My grandfather used to say, “We can have a great Christmas or a good Christmas but never a bad Christmas.”

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and had a lucrative Black Friday!

For more on the holiday sales season, check out: