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Independent Jewelers Report Strong Bridal Sales

Dec 31, 2020 6:12 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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Independent jewelry retailers in the US noted solid sales over the holiday period, as consumers had more disposable income and more couples got engaged.

“Sales were fantastic,” said Eva-Michelle Spicer, owner of Spicer Greene Jewelers in Asheville, North Carolina. “In December alone they were up 45% year on year, and last year was our best December ever. We are not only having more sales than usual, but those sales are also higher value than usual.”

During the month, sales volume rose 66%, while the average sale was up about 30%, Spicer claimed. While the store saw an uptick in diamond-jewelry sales in general, bridal was the standout.

“Our increase was from diamond engagement rings much more than anything else,” she said. “We nearly doubled our loose-diamond sales year on year, and those are 90% engagement rings. The average ticket [for an engagement ring] was also up from $6,500 to $8,300, which is a significant jump.”

Sales of engagement rings made up the bulk of purchases during the November-to-December seasonal period at Van Scoy Jewelers in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, as well.

“Business is pretty good,” noted owner Caroline Hill. “We’ve been selling a lot of engagement rings. That category is up about 50% over last year, and people are spending more than they usually do.”

Bridal was also robust at Underwood’s Fine Jewelers in Fayetteville, Arkansas, maintained owner Craig Underwood. Sales of engagement rings were strongest in October and November, rising in both value and volume.

Sizing it up

Shoppers are also going for larger diamonds than usual, the retailers said, with some noting the average size was between 1.5 carats and 2 carats, compared with up to 1.25 carats previously.

“It’s amazing how many people come in and say that by not going out to dinner for the last 10 months they have a lot more discretionary income, and so they end up buying larger gifts for Christmas because they have more money to spend,” claimed Underwood.

Three-stone diamond and solitaire-diamond rings were the most popular styles jewelers sold over the seasonal period, while rounds, ovals and pears were the most asked-for shapes, many of the jewelers said.

Giftware for the holiday period, such as fashion rings and bracelets, which are usually strong categories, were down, while diamond earrings and pendants sold better than usual, a number of jewelers noted.

“Sales of diamond studs were crazy,” said Stewart Brandt, owner of H. Brandt Jewelers in Natick, Massachusetts.

Diamond studs and hoops were also popular at Van Scoy, noted Hill. “Our thought was that people are Zooming, so you don’t see their wrists and fingers, you see their faces, so they are buying jewelry you can see on Zoom,” she said.

Brick-and-mortar buying

Total jewelry sales in the US fell 4.3% year on year during the holiday period, according to data Mastercard SpendingPulse released this week. However, online sales of jewelry rose 45%, it noted.

Despite the trend toward online sales during the pandemic, when it came to independent jewelers, consumers preferred to buy in-store.

“I got the impression that for the smaller gift items, people were not willing to get out and be in crowds and do the shopping they normally would, but for the more significant purchases, they were willing to do that,” suggested Underwood.

However, many did browse on the retailers’ websites before ultimately coming in and buying in stores.

“We had a lot of people who came in with their phone in hand [with a picture of an item from our website] and said I want this,” noted Spicer. “They still want to touch it, see it, feel it, before we gift wrap it. Our online business has increased, but the majority of our business is still in-store.”

Spicer has a theory on why sales of engagement rings have increased so dramatically this holiday period.

“Love is not canceled,” she stressed. “It’s stronger now, and I think that one of the things we’ve seen so many times in engagement rings lately is people saying ‘OK, well if we can survive this year together, we can survive anything, so let’s do it.’”

Image: A newly engaged couple. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Caroline Hill, Craig Underwood, engagement ring sales, Eva-Michelle Spicer, H. Brandt Jewelers, Leah Meirovich, Spicer Greene Jewelers, Stewart Brandt, Underwood’s Fine Jewelers, Van Scoy Jewelers
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