The American jewelry business has recovered to pre-recession levels, according to a study released Sept. 28 by Unity Marketing.
The company’s data estimates that consumer expenditures on jewelry in the U.S. grew 7.5 percent in 2010, and will rise 2.3 percent this year. The overall market will hit $57.5 billion this year, up from the $54.7 billion it reached in 2007.
“The rising cost of metals clearly has played a role here,” Unity Marketing Pam Danziger tells JCK. “But the numbers are the numbers.”
The study attributes the growth partly to increased interest in jewelry from men.
“Men’s jewelry, while still a small segment, is growing dramatically,” Danziger says. “Men are looking to up to their game, so they are wearing tie tacks, they are wearing cufflinks, to compete more in this very tight job market.”
Danziger also called Pandora a “game changer,” because of its collectible aspect.
“This company has been tremendously successful because they took a step outside the box,” she says. “They thought outside the traditional jewelry paradigm.”
Still, the study warns that the market has changed dramatically, and that more jewelry is being sold in non-traditional venues.
“Independent and chain stores have lost share in the jewelry market,” Danziger says. “People are turning more to the Internet, they are turning more to discounters like Costco and Walmart.”
In addition, changing attitudes among new consumers could impact the market.
“Younger people are waiting to get married or not getting married at all,” she says. “If you think that the wedding business will go on forever, it won’t.”
She adds that many jewelers fail to make connections with consumers.
“I recently got a piece of jewelry repaired,” she says. “The jeweler did not get my email. They didn’t ask what type of jewelry I liked. It was just a transaction. They made no effort to create a relationship with me.”
She adds: “The message here is that you can’t continue to do business the same old ways. You have to think in different ways.”