Survey Close-up: Silver ‘continues to be strong’
New York--Silver jewelry posted greater year-over-year holiday sales gains than any other product category included in National Jeweler’s 2012 year-end survey, with 66 percent of respondents reporting that sales in the category climbed.
When asked about their silver sales in November and December, the greatest percentage of retailers, 37 percent, reported that silver sales were up slightly as compared with the prior-year period. The second highest percentage, 29 percent, reported that their silver sales rose significantly.
Only 7 percent of survey-takers reported a slight (6 percent) or significant (1 percent) year-over-year decline in sales of silver jewelry. These findings are similar to those of an earlier survey conducted by the Silver Promotion Service, which showed that 77 percent of retailers experienced an increase in silver sales in 2012 as a whole.
Comments provided anonymously by respondents back up the survey results. When asked which specific products were holiday season standouts, a number of survey-takers listed silver with diamonds, silver with colored gemstones or, just simply, “silver.”
“Silver is still hot,” one retailer noted while another wrote, “Silver continues to be strong for us.”
Pieces from Pandora and Lagos were among the lines multiple retailers specifically mentioned as strong sellers. One retailer noted success with silver pieces from designer Rebecca Hook, stating it was “our hottest silver designer line … instant moneymaker!”
Respondents who were interviewed also largely agreed with the survey’s findings on silver as a category.
“We actually sold more diamonds than anything and silver would have been next,” says Billy Hammock, owner of Creative Jewelers in Florence, Ala., noting that silver is becoming more important to his overall business.
Prior to the holiday season, the store added two new lines in silver, Leslie’s and William & James, and he says both performed well.
The average price point for silver sales varies depending on the retailer. At Hoover Jewelers in Clay Center, Kansas, owner Glenn Hoover says his customers spend, on average, about $55 to $105 on sterling silver items. The store’s lines include Classic Imports, Quality Gold and Sterling Silver Reputations.
The average spend on silver is higher at Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler in Bellevue, Wash. Steven Goldfarb says his customers purchase pieces in the $250 to $500 range, brands such as Gurhan and Pianegonda.
Goldfarb says his store had a “big year” with silver but noted, “A big year with silver is not big numbers. You have to sell a lot of silver to make up for a gold watch.”
“It’s not a big part of my business but it’s a completely necessary part. It drives traffic, it’s a great gift item and it allows for add-on sales,” he says.