The Survey Says…
Platinum Guild International recently revealed results of its 2011 Independent/Small Chain Jewelry Retailers Sentiment Study of Platinum Bridal Jewelry. Produced by GfK Retail and Technology, the study offers insights into sales among 201 (or 17 percent) of PGI’s Preferred Partners Program, plus 202 small chain and independent U.S. stores.
A few findings won’t be a surprise: Partner stores (part of a PGI-organized sales and marketing support program) sell significantly more platinum bridal jewelry than nonpartners. And while white gold is the best-selling metal, responsible for more than half of all sales, platinum accounts for nearly a third.
Engagement rings compose the majority (63 percent) of platinum jewelry sales in stores surveyed, followed by women’s wedding rings (20 percent). Meanwhile, 61 percent of jewelers surveyed said “entry platinum” products sold through in 2011, with 67 percent placing reorders. Seventy percent of all jewelers planned to buy platinum bridal products in the next six months, largely due to the fact that platinum is selling at prices comparable to gold—$1,620 an ounce for gold versus $1,488 an ounce for platinum at press time. Sales of platinum bridal jewelry overall rose 2 percent over 2010, with a 4 percent gain reported by partners.
And here’s an intriguing point: About half of jewelers lead sales with the setting—the most profitable component of the engagement ring, some say—as opposed to the center stone, which often commands a lower markup because of the commoditization of diamonds.
“This is an important strategic shift on behalf of retailers to optimize the higher margin part of the engagement ring sale,” says PGI-USA president Huw Daniel. “Historically, jewelers made the most money on the diamond, but [they] are finding that higher gross profit dollars can be earned from the setting.”
And while all jewelers reported improved performance in men’s platinum wedding band sales in 2011, more than 50 percent said the category performed worse than other metals. “This segment has been worst hit by price competition from alternative metals sold by manufacturers post-2008,” says Daniel. “However, we are hearing that platinum sales are resurgent, as millennial consumers are rediscovering the importance of symbolizing their marriage with a precious metal that will stand the test of time.”
For more facts from the PGI survey, log on to platinumguild.com.
Glitterati band in platinum with matte-finished center border, 0.40 ct. t.w. micro-pavé diamonds, and a Superfit proprietary hinge mechanism; $8,375; CliQ by Superfit, Philadelphia;
Platinum Bridal Jewelry FACTS
- Average price of a platinum engagement ring semi-mount: $2,968
- Average price of a white gold engagement ring semi-mount: $1,798
- Average lowest entry-level price of a platinum engagement semi-mount: $1,271
- Almost one-third of all jewelers’ entry-level prices are in the $1,000–$1,500 range, while 24% are in the $750–$1,000 range.