By Michelle Graff
A total of 24 percent of those who took National Jeweler/Jewelers of America’s latest Business Pulse survey said they have e-commerce enabled website but, as the chart at right shows, online sales still account for a very small percentage of their overall business.

New York--National Jeweler/Jewelers of America’s latest Business Pulse poll found that many jewelers still aren’t selling jewelry on their websites, though some seem to be warming up to the idea.

When asked to describe their company’s web presence, the highest percentage of respondents (69 percent) said they have a website but it’s not e-commerce enabled.

About a quarter of survey-takers do have e-commerce on their sites while only 6 percent reported having no website at all.

Of the 24 percent of respondents with e-commerce-enabled websites, 75 percent are making less than 1 percent of their overall sales online, while 11 percent are making between 1 and 1.9 percent of sales there.

Only 8 percent of respondents reported that online sales accounted for more than 4 percent of their store’s total sales. As one survey-taker noted, “The majority of my peers (small stores doing $800K to $1.2 million) find that it (online sales) is not significant.”

While it might not seem “significant” now, many digital experts argue that having e-commerce is a must in retail today.

Even if a lot of sales aren’t made on a store’s website, they argue, it at least gives customers the option to make a purchase should they change their mind about a piece of jewelry after leaving the store or need time to contemplate a purchase.

It also gives jewelers the chance to reach customers outside their immediate area.

So, will more independent jewelers come around to the idea of e-commerce in the future? The survey seems to point to yes.

The 2 percent of respondents who marked “other” when asked to describe their company’s web presence said they are in the process of building a website that will include e-commerce, and four more jewelers said the same in the comments sections of the survey--that online sales are part of their website redevelopment plans.

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National Jeweler/Jewelers of America’s Business Pulse poll for April also asked jewelers about their store’s sales in the month of March as compared with March 2015.

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The greatest percentage of respondents, 29 percent, reported a drop in business of less than 25 percent while nearly the same percentage (28 percent) reported business was up less than 25 percent.

Twenty-two percent recorded flat sales in March.

Very few jewelers found themselves at extreme ends of the spectrum, with only 15 percent up more than 25 percent and 6 percent down that same amount.

National Jeweler and Jewelers of America conducted their joint Business and Product Pulse poll between April 25 and May 6. A total of 118 jewelers completed the Business Pulse section of the poll.

The Product Pulse portion of the survey questioned jewelers about their gold jewelry sales. National Jeweler published those results last month.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.