After two years of flat sales, the $45.2 billion fine jewelry and watch industry turned around in 2003, with a 4.4 percent increase in total sales, according to a survey conducted by Jewelers of America, the national trade association of retail jewelers. While colored gemstones have been all the rage, diamonds still dominate the sector.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Bridal Jewelry Facts

  • The engaged consumer is a $9 billion market for the jewelry industry.
  • Bridal jewelry sales account for 35 percent of jewelers’ total business (1 out of 3 purchases is made by a bride and/or groom).

  • 55 percent of brides were involved in the selection/purchase of their engagement rings.
  • 39 percent of brides shopped for and bought their engagement rings with their fiancés. The brides visited an average of four stores with their fiancés.
  • Average cost of an engagement ring is $3,700.
  • Average cost of a wedding band is $1,417.
  • 92 percent of brides are planning to buy a wedding gift for their fiancé.
  • Watches are the number one gift from the bride to the groom (24 percent).
  • 70 percent of brides are expecting to receive a gift in return and 59 percent would like to receive a watch/jewelry.
  • Watches are the number two gift from the groom to the bride (jewelry is number one at 55 percent).

SOURCE: FAIRCHILD BRIDAL INFOBANK

Fine Jewelry Sales by Retail Category  
Diamond Jewelry
35%
Loose diamonds
12%
Colored gemstones
10%
Karat gold jewelry
10%
Platinum
3%
Watches
5%
Cultured pearls
2%
Miscellaneous
23%

SOURCE: JEWELLERS OF AMERICA

Key Factor in Engagement Ring Purchases
 
Style/Look of Ring
49%
Quality of Diamonds
28%
Budget
19%
I’ll buy what I am told
4%

SOURCE: JEWELLRY.COM

Shape Preference for Engagement Rings  
Princess
33%
Round
30%
Marquis
25%
Emerald
12%

SOURCE: JEWELRY.COM

Gold Jewelry Sales in 2003

  • Gold jewelry sales rose 2.5 percent in the U.S., reaching $16.3 billion in 2003. Number of gold jewelry units sold increased 3.9 percent, and the average price per piece declined 1.3 percent to $76.17.

  • Bracelet sales increased by 8.2 percent in dollar volume and by 6.8 percent in unit volume.
  • 39 percent of brides shopped for and bought their engagement rings with their fiancés. The brides visited an average of four stores with their fiancés.
  • Earring sales increased 2.6 percent in dollar volume and 6.6 percent in unit volume, led by the popularity of yellow gold hoops, chandelier styles and shoulder-duster drop earrings.

SOURCE: U.S. GOLD JEWELRY SALES SUMMARY CONDUCTED BY NOP WORLD AND SPONSORED BY THE WORLD GOLD COUNCIL

Jewelry Sales by Income Level  
Under $30,000
25.30%
$30,000-$49,999
28.10%
$50,000-$99,000
35.60%
$100,000-$149,999
8.40%
$150,000 and up
2.60%

SOURCE: JEWELRY.COM

Units of Gold Jewelry Sold in the U.S. in 2003 by Category  
Neckware
56,639
Wedding rings
8,696
Other rings
14,045
Earrings
78,928
Bracelets
21,215
Charms
27,997

SOURCE: 2003 NOP WORLD U.S. GOLD JEWELRY RETAIL SALES REPORT

Percentage Change in Gold Jewelry Retail Sales in 2003 from 2002 by Channel and Category
TOTAL JEWELRY STORES
DEPARTMENT STORES
MASS MERCHANDISERS
Neckware
1.50%
-2.30%
-1.30%
Wedding rings
0.80%
0.50%
1.40%
Other rings
4.20%
2.90%
1.40%
Earrings
3.60%
2.70%
9.50%
Bracelets
4.80%
11.20%
8.30%
Charms
1.60%
0.20%
1.50%

SOURCE: 2003 NOP WORLD U.S. GOLD JEWELRY SALES REPORT

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