By Michelle Graff
More than half (56 percent) of jewelers surveyed in the wake of the U.S. presidential election said that the outcome had either no impact on their business or spurred people to spend again because they were just happy the election was over.
New York--National Jeweler/Jewelers of America’s latest Business Pulse poll asked readers about the results of the presidential election on Nov. 8, which brought to a close months of contentious campaigning.

The survey didn’t ask respondents whom they voted for but, instead, what impact the outcome of the election had on their business, if any, and what they want out of the new administration that will be headed by President-elect Donald Trump.

National Jeweler/Jewelers of America fielded its survey between Nov. 16 and Dec. 2. A total of 168 retailers responded.

When asked about what impact the outcome of the election has had on business at their stores, the greatest percentage of jewelers, 30 percent, said it hasn’t impacted business at all. The second largest percentage, 26 percent, said their customers were spending again because they were just glad that the election was over.

Fourteen percent reported that customers were spending more because they were happy with the election’s outcome and see a brighter future ahead, while 9 percent reported the opposite--that customers were holding back because they were disappointed with Trump’s victory and uncertain of what’s to come.

Eleven percent of survey takers said none of the above, while the remaining 10 percent marked other, with one jeweler writing in, “My customers are spending because the future is more predictable, like it or no.”

20161212 holiday sales chartThe survey also asked jewelers about their outlook for the holiday season, and nearly three-quarters said they expected it to be better than (47 percent) or the same as last year (25 percent).
Jewelers also were asked two open-ended questions about the election: what they wanted the new administration to do for small business owners, and what concerns, if any, they had about Trump in the White House.

Tax cuts for both people and small businesses, and decreasing regulations for small businesses while also reducing health care costs were some of the most common responses, as were job creation and wage growth.

“Create local jobs by getting our roads, bridges and highways repaired,” one jeweler said. “That will kick-start a lot of economic recovery and improve the safety of our transportation systems.”

Quite a few also mentioned Trump addressing the issue of internet sales tax--ensuring that online-only sellers are required to collect sales taxes on purchases in all 50 states, an issue that continues to be debated in Congress.

One respondent wrote, “It might be a state issue, but I would love to see the vendors on the internet forced to charge sales tax on every purchase.”

When asked about their concerns about the new president, the responses were, not surprisingly, as divided as the election itself.

Quite a few retailers said they did not have any concerns with Trump, with many stating their belief that having a business person in the White House instead of a politician will be good for business owners.

“Finally, a business person as a president rather than a politician; we have nothing to lose by trying him out,” one jeweler said.

Another wrote in, “We’re Democrats but are pro-Trump. Tired of career politicians running our country into the ground … We needed a change, and who better than a business person?”

Others, however, said their list of negatives were too numerous to list, or cited issues such as his temperament and mercurial nature, and lack of experience in government.

“I don’t trust his judgment. He has a lot to prove before I can personally consider him a stable individual,” one respondent wrote, while another said, “More than half the population believes that he’s the wrong person for the job. I’m concerned that his policies will negatively impact our community and the country’s standing in the world.”

One jeweler indicated that while he or she agreed with Trump on the issues, the president-elect needs to tone down the rhetoric.

“He is right on the issues, not so much on the personality … I hope he moderates the latter to succeed with the former.”

Sales Dip
It’s possible that pre-election jitters impacted retail sales as Nov. 8 drew closer.

When asked about their October 2016 sales, 67 percent of survey-takers said they were down (40 percent) or flat (27 percent) compared with October 2015.

A number of jewelers interviewed following Black Friday weekend indicated the same but also said that spending loosened up after the election and reported a positive start to the holiday season.

20161212 monthly sales chart

National Jeweler
/Jewelers of America conducted its Business Pulse survey in conjunction with its Product Pulse survey, which asked respondents about estate jewelry sales.

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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.