When the trade group Enterprise Ireland began surveying stores that retail Irish-made products in a North American network, it discovered some interesting facts:
Irish-Americans purchase nearly 70% of Irish-made products sold through the U.S. network (18% of the U.S. population claims Irish ancestry);
Jewelry is the most popular category of Irish goods sold through the stores, accounting for a median 30% of merchandise mixes;
Sales of Irish products at these U.S. stores have increased over the past three years—16% in 2000, 11% in 2001, and 3.4% in 2002.
“Imagine how well a jeweler can do with Irish jewelry—promoted properly—if gift shops are dedicating 30% of their space to jewelry,” says Michael McNicholas, senior vice president, industrial and consumer products, Enterprise Ireland. “[Irish jewelry] is a unique product line that one in five Americans who walk through your store will be interested in [because of their Irish ancestry].” And for jewelers who carry Irish pieces, St. Patrick’s Day becomes another holiday that can be marketed, much like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.