Jewelry sales have risen for the last 27 months, thanks to consumers who see jewelry products as a lasting asset, according to retail measurement service SpendingPulse.
The gains have been slow and steady but will likely continue, predicts Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard Advisors, which produces SpendingPulse.
“It feels permanent to buy jewelry,” she says. “Many people today can’t afford to buy homes. We are seeing new home sales dropping. But we do see discretionary income rising, like spending on restaurants and travel. People want to invest in something that is pleasurable to wear.”
She also says that, after a recession that destroyed value in stocks and bonds, some consider jewelry an item with lasting value.
The group has also seen double-digit jumps in the amount of jewelry purchased online. It estimates online jewelry sales constitute just under 20 percent of the market.
“Following the recession, consumers do not have a lot of time,” Quinlan says. “The consumer physically wants to go to the store, but wants to shop when and where she wants to shop.”
She adds that while gains for small businesses have been generally outpacing gains for larger ones, that isn’t true when the weather is bad, because people are more inclined to shop online.
Her advice for jewelers: Beef up online, and for those that shop with you, “make your store an experience.”
She predicts that jewelry will be big this holiday, and she foresees a strong Christmas.
“It is a grinding recovery,” she says. “It doesn’t feel great but it is getting there.”
SpendingPulse Advisors is calculated with data from MasterCard, enhanced with an algorithm that accounts for check and cash purchases.