(Press Release) NEW YORK, NY — Platinum Guild International (PGI) published the findings of its third annual Retail Barometer. The Barometer, conducted globally by independent platinum market experts and industry analysts, includes consumer retail sales data of platinum jewelry in 2015 and projections for 2016.
The research survey covered jewelry retail and manufacturing companies in the four main international markets of China, India, Japan and the U.S. The research was conducted between January and February of 2016.
Based upon an independent study, platinum jewelry sales rose in 2015 by approximately 10 percent in ounces compared to 2014. This is the third consecutive rise for the platinum jewelry market in the U.S., following increases of 11 percent in 2013 and 8 percent in 2014.
This double-digit increase contrasts with the more modest growth in the U.S. fine jewelry market in general, reported to be approximately 2 percent. Specialty jewelry stores – the primary channel of distribution for platinum jewelry – fared significantly better, reporting overall sales growth of 5.4 percent.
Contributing factors to 2015 platinum results reflect the following key drivers:
- The lower platinum price stimulated growth – In 2015, the price of platinum, and its relationship to the price of gold, had an impact on growth in platinum sales. The average price of platinum ($1,053) was 10 percent lower than the average gold price of $1,160. Gold prices ranged from $1,049-$1,295 in 2015. This market scenario resulted in a much smaller delta between gold and platinum finished jewelry prices at retail.
- Increased platinum stock levels at retail – The current metal price scenario has motivated both manufacturers and retailers to increase their platinum offerings in store and online.
- Online product offerings and sales expanding – Jewelry retailers are continuing to grow their business with e-commerce offerings. Most pre-purchase research is done online, and web-based and hybrid retailers (website & brick and mortar showrooms/retail partners) have increased the presence of platinum product and education information on their websites.
- Increased visibility of platinum jewelry at major chains – While independent specialty jewelers are the largest distribution channel for platinum jewelry in the U.S., there are now more than 300 stores at major jewelry chains carrying a platinum bridal jewelry assortment. Just a few years ago, platinum was practically non-existent at the majors with the exception of a small number of special orders.
- Platinum jewelry imports experienced a sharp increase – Imports of finished platinum jewelry increased by approximately 50 percent in 2015 indicating a consistent increase in demand for platinum at retail across multiple distribution channels. (Source: Thomson Reuters GFMS Commodities Research and Forecasts)
- Platinum-focused marketing efforts at independent regional chains – Regional chains focused on selling platinum engagement rings and wedding bands reported very favorable results with platinum sales increases of 14-24 percent.
Based upon the research, the expectation for the U.S. platinum jewelry market is for sales gains during 2016 of 5-7 percent in units/volume. Demand for platinum jewelry is expected to remain robust, growing more rapidly than the projected growth rate of total jewelry demand.
The factors which are expected to fuel platinum jewelry demand by American shoppers are the same factors which fueled demand over the past two years: platinum and gold commodity prices remaining near parity, increased promotion of platinum jewelry, especially by specialty jewelers, and a growth in platinum availability in major chain stores. Millennials, the primary wedding jewelry target, are educated and discerning consumers who seek to express themselves in a way that is unique. It is anticipated that an increasing number of them will symbolize their most important relationships with platinum jewelry.