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The Big Survey 2018: Selling

See jewelry stores' best performers, top categories and expected breakout products.

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What is selling in jewelry stores today — especially the thriving stores — and how are they selling it? The stores doing best are targeting millennials and professional women, and they’re more likely to prominently discount their “dogs.”

 

10. What are the 3 best-performing brand-name jewelry lines that you carry?

While the top two names remained the same from last year, Hearts on Fire made a big jump while Pandora dropped three places.

 

11. What do you think will be the next breakout trend in jewelry?

Top 10 Trends:
1. The return of yellow gold
2. Laboratory-created diamonds
3. Custom design
4. Color stones in engagement rings
5. A big look: Huge hoops, big dangles, long pendants
6. Engagement rings without halos
7. Baguettes
8. Estate, antique and vintage looks
9. Responsible sourcing
10. Rough-cut and rose-cut gemstones

 

12. What are the 3 best-performing watch brands that you carry?

2018
1. Citizen
2. Seiko
3. Bulova

4. Rolex
5. Belair
6. Pulsar
7. Tissot
8. Tag Heuer
9. Obaku
10. Movado
10. Victorinox Swiss Army
12. BREITLING
12. Michelle
12. Reactor
15. Skagen
15. Timex
17. Shinola
17. Fossil
17. Luminox
20. Charles Hubert Paris
2017
1. Citizen
2. Seiko
3. Bulova

4. Rolex
5. Belair
6. Pulsar
7. Tissot
8. Tag Heuer
9. Bering
10. Reactor

 

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13. What is your core customer demographic?

This chart indicates the percentage breakdown of thriving stores, struggling stores and average stores by client demographic.

NOTE: The chart makes it clear, it’s more likely you’ll do well when your key customers are also doing well and have cash to spend on life’s nicer things.

 

14. When a piece of jewelry reaches “dog” status, what’s your typical markdown?

Less than 5%
0.4%
5-10%s
2%
11-20%
6%
21-30%
14%
31-50%
52%
More than 50%
17%
I never mark down
6%
NA
13%

 

15. Which age group do you consider your target demographic?

THOSE IN THEIR 20s
Overall
6%
Thrivers
5%
Strugglers
7%
 
30s
Overall
37%
Thrivers
44%
Strugglers
28%
 
40s
Overall
32%
Thrivers
30%
Strugglers
36%
 
50s
Overall
21%
Thrivers
16%
Strugglers
22%
 
60s and older
Overall
4%
Thrivers
4%
Strugglers
7%
 

Comment: The thriving stores are clearly focused on a younger cohort, and primarily on millennials, the oldest of whom turned 37 in 2018. In contrast, stores who have struggled over the past few years continue to pursue their older customers. Solving the riddle of how to cater to millennials clearly appears to be one of the keys to thriving in 2018.

 

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16. For every 100 bridal rings you sell, how many do you sell in each metal type?

 

17. Merchandising Box. Please answer Yes or No.

Do you display prices prominently?
33%  67%
 
Do you have props in your display cases?
81%  19%
 
Do you have a sales/dogs/goodbye-to-old-friends case?
51%  49%
 
Do you have a “New Items” case?
19%  81%
 
Do you know your case sales per linear foot?
26%  74%
 
Do you offer profiles of artists you carry?
37%  63%
 
Do you use the Good/Better/Best principle in merchandising layout?
31%  69%
 

NOTE: Compared to their struggling peers, thriving stores are …
– More likely to have a good-bye to friends case
– Less likely to have a new items case
– More likely to offer profiles of artists
– Less likely to display prices prominently
– More likely to know their case sales per linear foot

 

18. Has the rise of millennials been good or bad for business?

COMMENT: This question produced one of the clearest points of separation between the thrivers and strugglers in 2018: Those stores having their best years have worked out how to ride the Millennial wave.

 

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19. Which of the following would you regard as the demographic group with the most potential in the next 3 to 5 years?

Struggling stores seem to be overly focused on Baby Boomers and not interested enough in professional female purchasers.

COMMENT: Baby Boomers are still “self-indulgent” but they are ageing quickly, notes Sherry Smith, director of business development at the Edge Retail Academy. She adds that jewelers need to do a better job of catering to self-purchasers, especially professional women, who are likely to be in your store more than any other group of customers, particularly gift-buying men who are often the targets of jewelers’ marketing campaigns.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Big Survey

Big Survey: How Many Women Make More Than $150,000 in Retail Jewelry?

For the most part, men are the higher earners.

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FOUR IN 10 independent jewelry stores in America are now run by women according to the 2018 Big Survey. However, for the most part, it is the men who continue to be the highest earners, with 80 percent of the jewelers making $150,000 or more a year being male.

A part of this discrepancy can be explained by the fact that many of the women owners and managers are relatively new to the industry and their stores have yet to reach the scale that rewards their owners so handsomely. In 2009, the first time we specifically asked about gender, the split between male and female owners was 65/35.

It’s also undeniable that women face bigger hurdles in business, whether it’s accessing credit, being accepted in business networks or just operating in a still male-dominated field.

Having said that, the women jewelers in our survey are doing well. Forty-three percent of the jewelers who said they’d had their best year ever since 2016 were women, suggesting they are outperforming their male counterparts.

As the Store Owner, What Did You Earn (Salary + Share of Profit) Last Year?

What Is It Your Gender?

COMMENT: The number of women owners or managers has been steadily rising since we started doing these surveys more than a decade ago. The first time we specifically asked about gender, in 2009, the split was 65/35. For the record, 43% of the thriving jewelers were women, suggesting they are outperforming their male counterparts. That said, it should be noted that male-owned stores overall tend to be older and thus the owners are often comparing those last two years against a historical record that goes back decades.

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Big Survey

Manmade Diamond Legal Quiz: Can You Do Better Than the Jewelers in the 2018 Big Survey?

Test your knowledge.

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ON JULY 24, the Federal Trade Commission’s jewelry guidelines were revised to include laboratory-grown diamonds in the commission’s definition of diamonds.

The FTC’s previous definition of a diamond was: “A natural mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system.”

The new listing does not include the word “natural.” “When the commission first used this definition in 1956, there was only one type of diamond product on the market — natural stones mined from the earth,” the FTC said. “Since then, technological advances have made it possible to create diamonds in a laboratory. These stones have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. Thus, they are diamonds.”

Which of the following terms are you allowed to use to describe laboratory-grown diamonds, according to the FTC. (The figures in parentheses reflect the answers of your fellow jewelers who took the Big Survey)

Laboratory-grown
94%
Manmade
56%
Laboratory-created
47%
Synthetic
35%
(Manufacturer-name)-created
34%
Cultured
20%
Simulant
7%
Imitation
6%

 

The descriptions in orange are fine, based on the FTC guidelines, while those in red are not. How did you do?

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Big Survey

Big Survey: How Many Hours Do Jewelers Work Per Week?

More time at work doesn’t always spell success.

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CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS there should be a direct correlation between hours worked and performance. But the 2018 Big Survey failed to find such a clear link. The takeaway? Working smart and other variables like being in an economically strong part of the economy matter more, because when you look at the numbers, just about all jewelers work hard.

To be sure, the strugglers in our survey (defined by those who said one of the last two years had been their worst in business) tended to be over-represented at the “fewer hours” end of the band, but they were also among the jewelers putting in the longest hours at the other end of the spectrum (16 percent of the strugglers were working more than 60 hours a week compared to 12 percent for the thrivers). Overall, just about everyone was working hard: 58 percent of the respondents to the 2018 Big Survey, which attracted the participation of more than 700 independent jewelers, reported working more than 45 hours a week.

Average / Thrivers / Strugglers

Less than 30 3% / 3% / 5%

30­-39 15% / 15% / 22%

40­-45 23% / 25% / 12%

46­-50 23% / 20% / 22%

51­-60 22% / 24% /22%

61­-70 9% / 8% /12%

More than 70 3% / 4% /4%

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