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Holiday Season Mini Survey

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

With only a few days until Christmas, many jewelers are running behind last year’s numbers.

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It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

WITH JUST OVER a week to go until Christmas, the 2022 holiday season hangs in the balance, with many jewelers reporting their sales are down from last year’s historically strong figures.

Almost one in two independent jewelers told our second INSTORE 2022 Holiday Season Mini Survey the season to date had been “disappointing” or “terrible”. Only a quarter reported it was shaping up better than expected.

“I’m nervous,” said Krystal Shiklanian of Radiant Fine Jewelry in Plymouth, MI. “We have a big goal in mind,and we are down about 20 percent.”

Respondents attributed the subdued sales to a range of factors including the slowing economy, this year’s elections, and in some parts of the country, bad weather or flu outbreaks.

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

The weaker performance on-year was reflected in most indicators, with sales and both in-store and online traffic all down. Average ticket, however, was slightly up for most jewelers, with several reporting that the large-ticket items were doing well.

“People are either looking for BIG gifts or small/price-sensitive ones. There’s been a drought in the middleground,”said Jennifer Hornik Johnson, owner of Miller’s Jewelry in Bozeman, MT.

Kyle Bullock of Bullock’s Jewelry in Roswell, NM, said they had anticipated such a trend based on the current economic uncertainty. “Positioning ourselves to have fewer low-price points and more premium price points with strong margins has paid off — it means fewer tickets but better numbers. Inflation seems to affect the bargain shopper and really not affect the luxury priced shopper.”

In terms of category, lab-grown diamonds were shaping up as the story of the season, with several jewelers reporting they had surpassed their traditional diamond sales. But it is a situation not everyone is happy with, given the lower price points. “(Lab-grown diamonds) have taken over our natural sales but even with slightly better margins we can’t sell enough to make up the lost gross profit,” said David Blitt, owner of Troy Shoppe.

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

It’s Crunch Time and Jewelers are Nervous

Jewellers in Calgary, AB. “My fear about LGD has come true.”

With the crucial last week to go before Christmas, there is still time for this season – and 2022 — to end strongly. As always, jewelers remain upbeat.

“Most of last December’s sales were made in the last six days. So, I have every reason to be optimistic,” said Ellie Thompson of Ellie Thompson + Co. in Chicago, IL. “You just never know who may walk through that door!Getting the feeling it’s going to be a panicked last-minute rush. Get ready to hold on tight.”

The second INSTORE Holiday Season Mini Survey was taken by 111 jewelers from across North America. We will send out more surveys to our Brain Squad in the weeks to come. Sign up HERE if you’d like to participate in the surveys and see all the raw data as it flows in from independent jewelers across the country.

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Chris Burslem is Group Managing Editor at SmartWork Media.

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Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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