Industry / Retail

Jewelry Sales Rose 22% In May, Mastercard Says


Don’t put away that cake; the party may not be over yet.

U.S. jewelry sales in May leapt 22% over the prior year, according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse, its sales measurement service.

Overall jewelry sales in May grew 65% over pre-pandemic May 2019, it said.

Both jewelry and luxury “outperform[ed]” other categories in May, Mastercard said.

In fact, in terms of annual sales growth, jewelry was the best-performing category tracked by SpendingPulse in May.

The service found that, overall, U.S. retail sales rose 10.5% in May. The luxury category (excluding jewelry) posted a healthy 20% increase, it said.

As good as those numbers are, they weren’t as strong as SpendingPulse’s jewelry numbers for April, when it found that sales rose 33%, but it beat those for March, which showed an 11.9% increase.

While the news about jewelry sales comports with the good vibes in evidence at JCK Las Vegas, others were more skeptical.

“I doubt that [sales] growth against a fantastic 2021,” wrote industry analyst Edahn Golan on LinkedIn.

Mastercard SpendingPulse also found, as it has in past months, a surprising comeback for two retail formats some had written off as relics: department stores and traditional brick-and-mortar.

Department store sales were up 13% in May over the prior year. E-commerce sales rose 2% in May over the previous year, versus a 13.4% increase for brick-and-mortar stores.

That said, COVID-19 has been very good for e-commerce: Overall e-tail sales in May were up 99% versus 2019, though brick-and-mortar sales also rose a healthy 13.7%.

Michelle Meyer, U.S. chief economist for Mastercard Economics Institute, while acknowledging that macro “headwinds have become stronger,” said in a statement that the striking sales growth merely continues what the service has seen all year.

“The consumer has been resilient, spending on goods and, increasingly, services as the economy continues to rebalance,” she added.

Mastercard SpendingPulse measures retail sales across all forms of payment, including cash and checks.

Photo: Getty Images

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By: Rob Bates

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