The Industry Is Still Shrinking—Just Less Than Before

The second-quarter Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT) stats show that the jewelry industry continues to shrink—it’s just doing it at a far slower rate than before.

The organization’s numbers show that 245 North American jewelry businesses closed during the most recent quarter, a 48 percent drop from the 475 businesses that closed in the same quarter in 2016.

That number breaks down to 204 closing retailers, 29 wholesalers, and 12 manufacturers. Those numbers are also down from last year’s second quarter, when 350 retailers closed, 77 wholesalers, and 48 wholesalers.

All that said, the consolidation trend hasn’t totally reversed itself: The number of jewelry companies is still shrinking. In June, the JBT recorded 27,706 businesses. That’s down from last year’s 29,439.

“The trend has not changed: We are seeing fewer jewelry companies,” says JBT president and CEO Anthony Capuano. “We are dealing with an aging population of store owners. I don’t think any major drivers of the trend have changed.”

He notes that the rate of decline also slowed in the first quarter.

“The rate of decline has now abated for two quarters,” he says. “But it’s too early to say it’s a trend.”

He adds the store-closing numbers are roughly comparable to what they were in 2015. They spiked dramatically last year.

Furthermore, the number of new businesses coming into the industry also decreased. During last year’s second quarter, 83 new jewelry business came into the industry in North America. This year, there were 29.

(Image: Getty Images)

JCK News Director


  • Joe

    It is still shrinking at an steady pace, I feel there will be more store closures than last year more people, retail stores are closing NOT a lot of them care to report it anymore. It has now become a new norm & will continue for a while.

  • benjanow

    The conditions for opening a jewelry store (or, for that matter, any retail business) have changed so radically that we can only expect to see steady decline. The decline started in earnest in the 1980’s as a result of rapidly expanding competition from other channels – discounters, TV, mall chains, wholesale clubs, global brands, etc. None of those competitors were present just 20 years earlier. Now, with an aging population, high costs, the Internet, and, most importantly perhaps, a shift in public sentiment, the risks are far outweighing the possible benefits. There will still be highly motivated people entering the business, but most of what we have known is going to age out and fade away.