Fine Jewelry Sales Prospects For the 2008 Shopping Season


We have all spent months hearing grim news, but as the holidays approach, how will prospective diamond and fine jewelry buyers respond?

In National Jeweler’s exclusive holiday jewelry survey, consumers revealed concerns and shared details on holiday spending plans that reflect a sense of caution. The good news is that jewelry, especially gold jewelry, remains on shopping lists, and those in the highest income brackets actually plan to spend more this year.

But, of course, there’s bad news too: Many consumers are heading into this holiday season with their confidence sagging amid a backdrop of general economic gloom.

Gasoline and food prices are up, the housing crisis lingers and unemployment is rising, with figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the national unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in July, up from 4.7 percent a year ago.

So it is no surprise that 68 percent of respondents who participated in Consumer Jewelry Buying Survey said they are feeling worse about the state of the economy than they did a year ago, and just 3 percent reported feeling better about it.

And, when asked to identify the No. 1 factor influencing their decision of whether to buy diamond and fine jewelry for the upcoming holiday season, the greatest percentage, 40 percent, indicated they would bypass jewelry because it is not a necessity.

This sticking-to-the-basics attitude reflected in the survey parallels the consumer mindset the National Retail Federation (NRF) is anticipating for the holiday season.

Kathy Grannis, the NRF’s manager of media relations, says consumers have held back on discretionary spending this year to concentrate on buying the necessities, a trend that is likely to extend into the yuletide season.

“Most consumers will be a bit more cautious with their spending this holiday season,” Grannis says.

That crowd includes survey respondent Tracy Arntson, a college student living in Muskegon, Mich. The 22-year-old says she likes diamonds and silver but other financial obligations-her bills and the high cost of paying for college-take priority over jewelry. The bad economic news of the past year has done little to loosen her purse strings. “I don’t feel that much better about the economy going into the holiday season,” Arntson says. Hope, change and holiday shopping.

But retailers, take heart: Survey respondents say they will still head to jewelry stores-largely independents, with chains coming in second-to buy holiday gifts for loved ones.

In fact, when asked about the factors influencing their decision to buy, the second highest percentage of respondents, 20 percent, said holidays and special occasions will prompt them to buy fine jewelry in October through December.

Helena Krodel, associate director of media for the jewelry Information Center (JIC), points out that the promise of a new administration might brighten consumers’ shopping spirits.

“If there’s a feeling of hope and change in the country, that will definitely impact people’s buying habits,” she says. Krodel says retailers need to stock up for the holidays, buying big and bold.
Trends for the upcoming season include sentimental jewelry, which are pieces inscribed with personal touches such as names and meaningful dates, and empowerment jewelry, pieces that contain words that express a statement, such as the word “green” for those with environmental affinities. is a JBT registered online diamond jewelry store, offering designer diamond engagement rings and fine jewelry.

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

"I want to see this market as a sharing market. Where merchants and customers sincerely support one another."

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