Some 77% of jewelers surveyed at the Perles de Tahiti booth at The JCK Show in Las Vegas expected sales of Tahitian pearls to increase by the end of the year. A positive prediction, yet 22% more jewelers made the same call in last year’s survey. More than 105 jewelers participated in the survey conducted from June 1-5.
Jewelers knew quite a bit about consumer preferences for Tahitian jewelry. Most customers see Tahitian cultured pearls as “exotic,” according to jewelers surveyed. Customers buy Tahitian pearl jewelry for quality first and design second, with price being the third consideration. Earrings remain the best-selling piece of Tahitian jewelry purchased, followed by pendants. Jewelers also said that lack of consumer knowledge about Tahitians was their biggest obstacle in selling the French-Polynesian-born cultured pearls.
Jewelers’ Tahitian sales expectations for 2001 are upbeat. Some 26% of jewelers predicted a 10%-15% increase in sales of Tahitians, though 4% more retailers expected such an increase last year. But 75% of jewelers said that Tahitian jewelry represents 1%-5% of total sales, an increase over the 58% of retailers at last year’s show who cited the same numbers for total sales. And nearly 10% more retailers at the 2001 JCK Las Vegas show anticipated the majority of Tahitian jewelry sales to be in the $500-$1,000 range.
One Tahitian wholesaler noted the rise in the number of retailers buying Tahitian strands this year as opposed to asking for memo agreements. “I think this indicates that we should have a good fall season and that retailers are optimistic,” the wholesaler told Perles de Tahiti.