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U.S. Jewelry & Watch Sales Flat in February

Mar 30, 2015 3:19 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry and watch sales across all channels were basically flat, or down  0.2 percent year on year, at $6.188 billion in February, according to preliminary figures. Data revealed that jewelry sales were unchanged from one year ago at $5.464 billion, while sales of watches contracted 1.2 percent to $724 million during the month. In addition, February became the fifth consecutive month to reflect weaker sales for the sector.

As expected, sales totals were revised for January; however, jewelry and watch sales still recorded a 1 percent year-on-year decline at $4.595 billion. Jewelry sales were down 0.7 percent to $4.057 billion, but sales of watches fell 2.5 percent to $538 million.

December's sales of jewelry and watches were revised slightly higher to $15.34 billion in total, but  the figure was down 1 percent from December 2013, with jewelry sales lower by 0.9 percent at $13.546 billion and watches down 2.1 percent to $1.84 billion. Figures for November were revised lower, reflecting a decline of 0.8 percent at $6.97 billion, with jewelry sales down 0.6 percent at $6.154 billion and watches down 2.2 percent at $837 million.

With slight changes in the figures for November and December, combined jewelry and watch sales growth in 2014 was narrowed to a gain of 1.2 percent year-on-year at $78.71 billion, with jewelry sales totaling $69.484 billion and watch revenue reaching $9.445 billion.

This past week, Unity Marketing revealed that affluent U.S. consumers  spent 26.5 percent less on luxury goods in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. However, in the group's recent Luxury Consumption Index, which measured the spending habits of those with an average income of  $266,900, economic confidence improved.

"This is the 'luxury drought,'" said Pam Danziger, the president of Unity Marketing, who authored the new report.  "People with high incomes have changed their shopping habits, focusing on brands that represent a good value, rather than high-status brands."

Affluent consumers are valuing a personal connection with the artists and designers of those products they buy, driving growth for such brands as jeweler Alex and Ani and platforms such as Etsy, according to Danziger's research.

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Tags: affluent, Consumer Spending, households, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail, sales, watches
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