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Holiday Season Mini Survey

Jewelers Ring in the Holiday Season with Cheer and Cautious Optimism

Nearly half said their sales were either “better than expected” or flat out “terrific.”

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Jewelers Ring in the Holiday Season with Cheer and Cautious Optimism

THE 2021 HOLIDAY season got off to a buoyant start with many jewelers across the country describing scenes of busy stores and surprisingly strong sales in the first week of December.

Almost half (49%) of the respondents to our first 2021 Holiday Season Mini Survey said their sales were either “better than expected” or flat out “terrific” while a further 43 percent said they were in line. That left only 8 percent feeling disappointed with how their stores had performed. Note that jewelers had entered the season with the bar raised high – our Jewelers Confidence Index in November came in at a near record high of 85 – making the strong numbers all the more noteworthy.

More than 53 percent of the jewelers in our survey said that in-store traffic was “up”, while 29 percent reported gains in online traffic. Customers were also showing a willingness to spend on bigger ticket items with 60 percent of jewelers reporting their average sale was up from last year. Almost one in three stores reported an average sale of over $1,000.

Jewelers Ring in the Holiday Season with Cheer and Cautious Optimism

Jewelers Ring in the Holiday Season with Cheer and Cautious Optimism

“People seem to be in better moods about the holidays and are buying more important gifts,” said Cindi Haddad-Drew, owner of Cindi’s Diamond and Jewelry Gallery in Foxboro, MA.

Daniela Balzano of Water Street Jewelers in Guilford, CT, echoed those thoughts: “It seems like customers are more interested in buying sentimental pieces for their loved ones. I think after a few years of COVID, we’re all looking for deeper meaning … And it shows,”

Such thoughts are in line with the wider post-pandemic consumer bounce-back in the general economy combined with pent-up spending power. For some jewelers, that suggests December – if it keeps up at this rate — will be a long month that will require careful management of their teams. “Our cases are full. Our sales are unbelievable. Sales associates are ecstatic, but they are also wearing out and it’s early in the season. We need to always be aware [of] their well-being,” said Scot Caniglia of Joseph’s Jewelers, West Des Moines, IA.

Despite the positive numbers and comments, the influence of the pandemic is far from having been banished completely. Uncertainty about the future is clearly an issue for many jewelers as the year draws to a close and a new one begins.

The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 tops the list of concerns for some jewelers.

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“I’m hopeful that customers won’t get scared away by the variant and that they’ll continue to come out and shop,” said Mark Goodman, owner of Goodman Jewelers of Abingdo, VA. He added: “We’ve seen great sales so far but the last two days I’m seeing a drop in traffic. The more the new talks about the Omicron variant, the more it seems to change people’s behavior.”

Tommy Thobe of The Village Gem in Perry Hall, MD, speaking on the issue of uncertainty, said: “I wish I had a crystal ball so I know if should retire or resign my lease. Business is good but I just don’t know what’s going on in the future.”

Steven Wardle of Forest Beach Design in Massachusetts agreed: “There’s apprehension about future COVID-19 problems in every counter conversation.”

The first 2021 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken on by more than 160 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group in the week following the Black Friday weekend. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each week.

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