JCK Show: Data mining for free on the Internet

“Getting Demographic Information from Web Sites,” presented by Jennifer Heebner, a senior associate editor for JCK magazine, offered tips on obtaining local sales information and demographic data and explained how such information can help a jeweler’s business. Attendees also learned how to maneuver through the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site, where valuable information is available at no cost. One tip for jewelers: remember NAICS code 44831, which has jewelry-specific figures.

Heebner taught jewelers the value of knowing jewelry sales on a local level: “Know these and you’ll know your local market share,” she explained. Determining figures for jewelry sales and other categories in which consumers spend discretionary income can also help jewelers determine their non-jewelry competition. For example, on a national level, jewelry competes against furniture and electronics and appliances, and the latter two categories have the edge; their combined sales are three times the sales figures for fine jewelry in the United States.

Zip code demographics allow jewelers to check their knowledge of their competition and may even alert jewelers to stores they didn’t know existed.

Finally, state, county, and even township data allow jewelers to know exactly who lives in their communities. Information such as median household incomes, occupations, and residents by age groups are also available through the Census Bureau. “Compare old to newer data to spot population trends and to verify your target market,” Heebner suggested.