The recession isn’t the only challenge facing American jewellery retailers, according to a new study by Unity Marketing.
The company’s latest report, Jewellery Report 2011, finds that retailers have been “hit by a number of additional factors that have hurt their businesses”, specifically:
• Jewellers are challenged by the rising cost of precious metals, which has caused consumers to seek out more affordable alternatives such as palladium, plated metal, costume jewellery and faux gems like cubic zirconias and moissanite.
• Jewellery shoppers have turned their back on jewellery stores as their chosen place to shop and have instead favored department stores, internet websites, artisans and art galleries, TV shopping and discounters for new jewellery pieces.
• With a new value consciousness, today’s jewellery consumer is finding she can pick up a new piece for a great price if she shops smart. That is one reason why the average amount jewellery shoppers spent on their last piece of fine jewellery declined by nearly 60 percent from pre-recession 2007 when the average price was US$734 to US$466 in the most recent survey.
Unity Marketing president Pam Danziger said jewellers need new ideas and inspiration that will help them market successfully against “these headwinds”.
“For example, the research recommends that jewellers stock more pieces made from lower-cost metals, semi-precious stones and materials that might previously have been considered ‘costume.’
“This may go against the grain of some traditional jewellers, but if you want to appeal to the jewellery customers of today and tomorrow, you have to change with the times. If you don’t, you risk suffering the same fate as Blockbuster, Borders and Circuit City — all once category-killer retailers that were undone by failing to move forward with their customers.”
She concludes that “traditional jewellers continue to lose in the game of selling jewellery” as “they have to work harder and smarter to entice the customers to buy”.
“They (traditional jewellers) need to think of creative ways to touch customers and invite them into their store using all the marketing tools available to them such as social media, local community events, and partnering with other local businesses like bridal shops.”
The Jewellery Report 2011 is based upon the results of a consumer survey conducted March 31-April 1 this year among 553 recent purchasers of jewellery (average income US$76,080; average age 45.1 years; 64 percent female/36 percent male) identified from a statistically-representative sample of 1055 US households.