Report: Jewelry market increasing but changing
Editor's note: The story has been clarified to indicate that Unity Marketing's data on U.S. jewelry sales does not include watches.
Stevens, Pa.--The market recovered and evolved in 2010, with more consumers turning to non-traditional outlets to shop for jewelry and the category of men’s jewelry growing in popularity, a new report from Unity Marketing shows.
Unity’s Jewelry Report 2011 pegs U.S. jewelry sales at $56.23 billion in 2010, an 8 percent increase over 2009. This figure includes both costume and fine jewelry and is based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (This figure does not include watch sales.)
According to Unity data, 2010 was the first time since 2007--when jewelry sales reached $54.76 billion--that year-over-year revenue increased for the industry. Unity Marketing President Pam Danziger acknowledges that the higher costs for materials such as gold and diamonds contributed to a portion of the dollar increase.
Another contributing factor, however, is the growth in sales of men’s jewelry. More than two-thirds of the growth in the jewelry market between 2008 and 2010 is directly attributable to men’s jewelry, according to the report.
Danziger said while this category “wasn’t on the radar really” in years past and still remains relatively small, sales of cufflinks, tie tacks and necklaces and bracelets designed for men are starting to grow. These items are especially popular among younger men. (Unity does not include watches in the men’s jewelry category.)
For some men, “It’s a way of competing. They’re upping their game in terms of more formal presentation with tie tacks and cufflinks,” she said. They are “dressing for success” in the corporate world. Other men are buying bracelets and chains for casual wear.
The 2011 Jewelry Report is based on a survey conducted in late March/early April among 553 recent purchasers of jewelry (average income $76,800), both costume and fine, identified from a representative sample of 1,055 U.S. households. Unity Marketing conducted similar surveys in 2006 and 2007.
In addition to an increase in spending on men’s jewelry, the 2011 report showed that fewer consumers are shopping at the large chains and independent jewelry stores. They are choosing instead to frequent department stores, fashion boutiques, gift stores--a trend that could be attributed to sales of the popular brand Pandora in these stores--art galleries and the Internet to buy their jewelry.
Danziger said the reason for the shift could be that consumers find these other outlets to be “less intimidating” and more customer friendly than traditional jewelry stores.
The report also contains a section dedicated to fine jewelry spend among affluent consumers--those with annual incomes of $100,000 to $249,900--which Unity dubs the “High Earners, Not Rich Yet” (HENRYs), and those with incomes of $250,000 a year or more, the ultra-affluents.
The data shows that in 2010, Tiffany & Co. was the most popular jewelry brand among these income groups, with 21 percent of affluent consumers reporting that they purchased this brand. Next was Bulgari with 18 percent, followed by Boucheron at 17 percent, Cartier at 15 percent and Gucci at 13 percent.