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Jewelry Retail Is Among the Whitest Sectors in the US Economy

Big Survey finds 92% of owners and managers are white.




Jewelry Retail Is Among the Whitest Sectors in the US Economy

THE INDEPENDENT JEWELRY retail segment is among the most racially homogenous in the U.S., with more than 92 percent of participants classifying themselves as white, according to the 2021 INSTORE Big Survey. Three percent of the respondents identified as Hispanic, 3 percent as multi-racial and 2 percent Asian. None of the almost 400 jewelry store owners or managers who answered this particular question is African American.

By comparison, whites account for about 78 percent of the overall American workforce and according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, such a racial makeup means jewelry retail is one of the whitest sectors in America, lagging only veterinarians, ranchers, pilots, millwrights, steel workers, doctor’s office staff and a couple of other small job categories in its lack of diversity. It’s even whiter than the C-suite of big corporate America (90.6% white)!

The family-run nature and the way ownership of jewelry stores – and the associated skills — are often handed from generation to generation no doubt explains some of this racial homogeneity. Although it is also arguable that would be healthy if the segment were to evolve to more fully represent the country’s cultural richness and include more influences and personalities from outside the dominant racial group.

The 2021 Big Survey was carried out between August and September, attracting almost 700 anonymous responses from owners of independent jewelry stores across the United States and Canada. The full results are available online here and in the November issue of INSTORE.


Chris Burslem is Group Managing Editor at SmartWork Media.



Time for More “Me Time”? Time to Call Wilkerson

Rick White, owner of White’s & Co. Jewelry in Rogers, Ark., knew it was time to retire. Since the age of 18, jewelry had been his life. Now it was time to get that “me time” every retailer dreams about. So, he chose Wilkerson to manage his going-out-of-business sale. White says he’d done plenty of sales on his own, but this was different. “Wilkerson has been a very, very good experience. I’ve had the best salespeople in the history of jewelry,” he says. “I recommend Wilkerson because they are really the icon of the jewelry business and going-out-of-business sales. They’ve been doing it for decades. I just think they’re the best.”

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