June 12, 2018
At the JCK Show, JCK News Director Rob Bates broke out data to paint a realistic picture of the state of retail jewelry industry in "State of Retail: Growing Segments." We’re highlighting some key takeaways from his presentation -- don't worry it's not as bad as you think.

Less Marketshare

Bates was quick to point out that while jewelry and watch sales are growing year over year coming in at $91.1 billion in 2017, sales from jewelry stores only make up 1/3 of the total annual jewelry/watch sales as more consumers are looking to other channels to purchase jewelry.

Shrinking But Strong

Much news has been made of our shrinking industry, especially with the total count of specialty jewelry businesses in the U.S. in decline year to year. In the first quarter of 2018, our industry dropped between 4-5.3% companies over same period in 2017, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade. However, when viewed in comparison to other retail categories this could be considered a success rate. For example, in a 2012 report, the number of florists were down 26% from the previous year, book stores down 27.9%, toy/game stores down 12.2%.

Bates pointed out that it’s not all doom and gloom. Overall, the jewelry industry is still stronger than many other retail categories. The Internet is taking some market share, but there’s potential for retailers to get a bite of the pie. Succession rates in our industry are low, but many of these closures are by choice -- long-standing store owners who want to retire.

The size of retail storefronts in the United States is due for a recalibration. Consider that the United States has more malls per person than any other country -- double the United Kingdom which is in 2nd place of countries that love to shop.

New Shoppers, New Retail

Gen X has usurped the Baby Boomers as the generation currently at its “peak buying power,” and the retail marketplace is changing with them. They have new ways of shopping with a desire for convenience, personalization, comparison and crowd sourcing. The future fine jewelry purchasers --millennials or “echo boomers” -- will be entirely mobile and e-commerce based consumers with a diverse demographic. Jewelers must adjust to the tech savvy and socially engaged consumer to remain viable.

These consumers have limitless choices for how to access to product -- so where one segment shrinks, other channels open to engage your customers.

In Part 2, we’ll cover why even though competition is everywhere for retailers, jewelry is still an in-person purchase for most consumers and how you can optimize both your online and instore experience to get them from click to “brick.”
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