National Jeweler Network

Retail Surveys

Spending in luxury, jewelry is up, company says

By Brecken Branstrator

December 17, 2013

New York--Buyers are back in the market for luxury items and jewelry this holiday season, with the biggest shopping day for the season still to come, according to MasterCard Advisors.

Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard Advisors, told National Jeweler that consumers all year have been buying in terms of needs versus wants until a drop in gas prices this fall, among other things, brought an increase in discretionary income for many consumers.

Due to the “wealth effect”--improvements in the economy and consumer confidence--shoppers are returning to the luxury marketplace.

“Now, instead of buying clothes, they’re accessorizing with jewelry,” Quinlan said. “People are looking for value for their money and may be willing to go up in price to get that, and that’s something jewelry can offer them.”

In October, the restaurant sector was No. 1 in total spending, counting all forms of tender spent in brick-and-mortar stores and online, according to the company, followed by jewelry.

In November, the luxury sector, meaning purchases of more than $250 (excluding jewelry, which MasterCard places in its own category) was at No. 1. Luxury sales were up 40 percent year-over-year on Thanksgiving and more than 20 percent on Black Friday.

Jewelry was No. 3 in spending for the month of November.

“What we’re seeing now is that if consumers can’t buy a new home or new car, they’re buying luxury goods or jewelry,” Quinlan said, adding that the average price point of jewelry sales is now up to between $500 and $2,000.

In the first week of December, jewelry had a sales growth of 41 percent compared week-over-week from 2012.

Quinlan also noted that they’re seeing consumers get increasingly comfortable buying jewelry online; Cyber Monday spending for the industry was up 80 percent as compared with last year.

MasterCard Advisors also predicts that Super Saturday, the marketing moniker applied to the Saturday before Christmas, will live up to its reputation as the biggest spending day of the year again in 2013 for luxury and jewelry retailers.

“The final weekend before Christmas always shows a significant spike in retail sales, but for the past several years, jewelry and luxury has really risen to the top of consumers’ last-minute shopping lists,” Quinlan said. “Last year, nearly 8 percent of jewelry sales that took place in December happened on Super Saturday. On average, that’s more than double any other day leading up to Christmas.”