Jewelry Industry Trends

Thirty-three percent of U.S. adults (65.41 million), based on the 1999 population survey from the Bureau of the Census, bought jewelry in the past year, according to results of “The Jewelry Report: The Market, the Industry, the Trends 2001,” another study conducted by Unity Marketing, Stevens, Pa.

Demographic information about U.S. fine jewelry buyers is available in this study. Thirty-four percent of females surveyed bought fine jewelry in the past 12 months versus 31% of men. Hispanics are most likely to purchase fine jewelry; some 44% of fine jewelry buyers surveyed were Hispanic (and represent 3.8 million Hispanic fine-jewelry purchasers out of a total population of 8.6 million U.S. Hispanics*). Younger consumers also have a higher purchasing incidence of fine jewelry, as do residents of the Northeast section of the United States. Buyers of fine jewelry in the past year were fairly affluent, with 48% of households surveyed earning annual salaries of at least $50,000. Respondents with children are also slightly more likely to purchase fine jewelry: 38% of those surveyed have children vs. 30% without children.

Adults bought an average of four pieces of fine jewelry for themselves in the past year, spending an average of $512. Male self-purchasers bought an average of four pieces totaling $740, while female self-purchasers bought an average of three pieces and spent $428. African-American self-purchasers bought an average of five pieces in the past year, spending $1,106; Hispanics bought an average of four pieces of jewelry for $1,060; and Caucasians bought just three items for themselves, spending $412. Jewelry self-purchasers between the ages of 18 and 24 bought an average of six pieces in the last 12 months, spending $855. Jewelry self-purchasers from the Midwest bought more pieces of jewelry—five—for themselves than those in any other region of the country but spent less than Southerners, who bought an average of four pieces last year for $895. Consumers surveyed from the Midwest spent an average of just $255 on all of their jewelry purchases.

Of consumers who bought fine jewelry as gifts last year, adults bought an average of four pieces and spent $442. Caucasians, on average, bought more pieces of jewelry and spent more on those purchases than African-Americans or Hispanics. Consumers surveyed who were over the age of 65 bought an average of 14 pieces of jewelry last year as gifts—four times as many as each of the other age groups bought. However, this group spent only $295 on their purchases. By contrast, respondents in the 45-54 age group bought an average of four pieces of jewelry last year but spent $725 on those purchases. Men, on average, bought five pieces of jewelry last year as gifts and spent $638, while women bought an average of three pieces and spent just $223. Consumers surveyed from the West bought an average of six pieces of jewelry last year but spent only $326, vs. residents of the South who bought four pieces of jewelry and spent $556—the most spent on fine jewelry gifts last year in any region of the country.

Some 14% of all adults surveyed plan to buy fine jewelry for themselves next year. Male self-purchasers are slightly more likely to buy fine jewelry than their female counterparts. African-Americans have a greater likelihood of buying fine jewelry next year than the other two ethnic groups surveyed. Of all the age groups of consumers surveyed, those ages 25-34 are the most likely to make jewelry purchases next year, and Southerners are more likely than those in other parts of the country to purchase jewelry in the next 12 months.

The complete study is available from Unity Marketing, (717) 336-1600.

Methodology: Unity Marketing’s telephone survey was conducted Feb. 24-27. It comprised a national probability sample of 1,015 adults, 509 males and 506 females, living in private households in the United States. Only one interview was conducted per household. Interviews were weighted by age, sex, race, and geographic region to provide a representation of the total population.

* Some 44% of fine-jewelry buyers surveyed were Hispanic. According to the 1999 population survey from the Bureau of the Census, there are 8.6 million U.S. Hispanics, and based on Unity Marketing’s findings, 3.8 million of them purchased fine jewelry last year. Thirty-seven percent of fine-jewelry buyers surveyed were African-American. According to the 1999 population survey from the Bureau of the Census, there are 23.5 million African-Americans in the United States, and based on Unity’s research, 8.7 million of them purchased fine jewelry last year. Thirty-two percent of fine jewelry buyers surveyed were Caucasian. According to the 1999 population survey from the Bureau of the Census, there are 166.1 million Caucasians in the United States, and 53.2 million bought fine jewelry last year.