State of the Jewelry Industry 2009

We hear much from various pundits and authorities about the state of our industry in these economically difficult times. But how do the people on the front lines of business—you and your colleagues—see things? This year, JCK’s annual “State of the Industry” report is all about your view from the retail trenches and what you and your peers are doing to weather the storm.

It’s no surprise that many independent jewelers say their local economies are just fair, that they want better terms from suppliers, more personal involvement by bankers, or are adjusting inventory to add lower-price traffic-pulling product.

What is surprising is that one in four say business locally is good or better. They’re cautiously optimistic that local business will improve within a year or less, and are keeping their employees and adjusting product mixes in anticipation of that upturn.

Those are some of findings of a nationwide March 2009 survey by JCK of hundreds of independent U.S. jewelers. The results are presented here both nationally and for each of four major geographic regions—Northeast, South, Midwest, and West.

National

$1,953,057
&$500,000 28%
$500,000–$999,999 19%
$1 million–$2.9 million 32%
$3 million–$4.9 million 7%
$5 million+ 14%

1 Stor 82%
2–4 Stores 8%
5+ Stores 10%

1–3 34%
4–6 23%
7–10 17%
11–14 6%
15–19 3%
20+ 17%

27 Percentage Planning Staff Cuts
12 Percentage Planning Staff additions
47 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Cuts
16 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Increase

Added lower-price products 48%
Dropped some higher-price products 24%
None yet, but considering 9%
Focusing on bridal and basics, less on fashion 26%
Focusing on unique pieces/fashion, less on basics 24%
Business stable, no changes planned 16%

OPINION
Excellent 2%
Very good 3%
Good 18%
Fair 46%
Poor 30%
EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
&6 months 15%
6–12 months 31%
13–24 months 39%
24+ months 15%

Northeast

&$500,000 44%
$500,000–$999,999 15%
$1 million–$2.9 million 19%
$3 million–$4.9 million 7%
$5 million+ 15%

1 Store 81%
2–4 Stores 4%
5+ Stores 15%

1–3 41%
4–6 22%
7–10 15%
11–14 7%
15–19 0%
20+ 15%

OPINION
Excellent 4%
Very good 7%
Good 7%
Fair 41%
Poor 41%
EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
&6 months 8%
6–12 months 34%
13–24 months 54%
24+ months 4%

22 Percentage Planning Staff Cuts
18 Percentage Planning Staff Additions
46 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Cuts
17 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Increase

Added lower-price products 44%
Dropped some higher-price products 15%
None yet, but considering 0%
Focusing on bridal and basics, less on fashion 19%
Focusing on unique pieces/fashion, less on basics 22%
Business stable, no changes planned 30%

Midwest

OPINION
Excellent 3%
Very good 3%
Good 14%
Fair 50%
Poor 30%
EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
&6 months 14%
6–12 months 22%
13–24 months 50%
24+ months 30%

&500,000 20%
$500,000–$999,999 23%
$1 million–$2.9 million 37%
$3 million–$4.9 million 6%
$5 million+ 14%

1 Store 88%
2–4 Stores 9%
5+ Stores 3%

1–3 20%
4–6 23%
7–10 17%
11–14 6%
15–19 8%
20+ 14%

20 Percentage Planning Staff Cuts
19 Percentage Planning Staff Additions
37 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Cuts
23 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Increase

Added lower-price products 53%
Dropped some higher-price products 33%
None yet, but considering 8%
Focusing on bridal and basics, less on fashion 25%
Focusing on unique pieces/fashion, less on basics 33%
Business stable, no changes planned 19%

South

&500,000 21%
$500,000–$999,999 16%
$1 million–$2.9 million 42%
$3 million–$4.9 million 6%
$5 million+ 15%

1 Store 80%
2–4 Stores 15%
5+ Stores 5%

1–3 32%
4–6 18%
7–10 16%
11–14 11%
15–19 2%
20+ 21%

OPINION
Excellent 2%
Very good 5%
Good 24%
Fair 50%
Poor 19%
EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
&6 months 21%
6–12 months 37%
13–24 months 29%
24+ months 13%

24 Percentage Planning Staff Cuts
9 Percentage Planning Staff Additions
45 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Cuts
9 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Increase

Added lower-price products 35%
Dropped some higher-price products 13%
None yet, but considering 16%
Focusing on bridal and basics, less on fashion 37%
Focusing on unique pieces/fashion, less on basics 24%
Business stable, no changes planned 21%

West

OPINION
Excellent 0%
Very good 0%
Good 19%
Fair 44%
Poor 37%
EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
&6 months 14%
6–12 months 26%
13–24 months 36%
24+ months 24%

&$500,000 42%
$500,000–$999,999 20%
$1 million–$2.9 million 20%
$3 million–$4.9 million 8%
$5 million+ 10%

1 Store 82%
2–4 Stores 10%
5+ Stores 8%

1–3 44%
4–6 30%
7–10 8%
11–14 4%
15–19 4%
20+ 10%

33 Percentage Planning Staff Cuts
9 Percentage Planning Staff Additions
50 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Cuts
23 Percentage Planning Marketing Spend Increase

Added lower-price products 54%
Dropped some higher-price products 38%
None yet, but considering 12%
Focusing on bridal and basics, less on fashion 26%
Focusing on unique pieces/fashion, less on basics 24%
Business stable, no changes planned 2%